In seeking to create great project outcomes, we also make the occasional headline. Here are the latest stories, opinions and commentary about 3L Alliance projects and related issues, from local and international media.

10 November 2016

Queens Place, Melbourne tower one secures 80 percent sellout

Queens Place display suite

A $1 billion twin-tower vertical community is set for development in Melbourne, with Queens Place designed to create a ‘Melbourne within Melbourne’ according to developer 3L Alliance.

The development, 350 Queens Place on Flagstaff Hill, will even feature laneway shopping at ground level and a host of other services such as restaurants, private cinemas, a library, poker and mah jong room, a private garden terrace, karaoke suite, and even a cigar bar.

The development features offering one, two and three-bedroom apartments in a range of floorplans, living options, finish levels, amenity and view opportunities. The one, two and three-bedroom apartments range from 45 to 168 square metres, with prices starting at $449,000 designed in collaboration by Cox Architecture, Fender Katsalidis Architects and Hecker Guthrie.

The architecture of Queens Place weaves the city’s past, present and future into a striking, tri-form composition that succeeds at every level and from every vantage point.
Gavin Boyd, 3L Alliance General Manager

3L Alliance General Manager Gavin Boyd said the design of the building was inspired by Melbourne’s myriad alleys, and much-loved institutions like the historic Block and Royal Arcades, and is criss-crossed at ground level by a network of intimately scaled laneways.

“The architecture of Queens Place weaves the city’s past, present and future into a striking, tri-form composition that succeeds at every level and from every vantage point,” he said.

“Be it for exercise, entertaining or entertainment, a quiet escape, or to partake in your favourite indulgence, the level of communal amenities is above and beyond that of any residential development in Melbourne’s history.”

“Reaching new heights on floors 69 to 78, the expansive and sublimely appointed ‘Queens Residences’ will reward owners with the ultimate in urban sophistication across a selection of penthouses and sub penthouses.”

The display suite is currently located at 332 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, and is open from 11am to 4pm daily and contactable via 1300 793 798.

Source: The Property Observer

22 June 2016

Melbourne land sales up 20% In April

Residential land sales in Melbourne in April rose to 1,503 transactions, the highest ever recorded for that month, and around 21 per cent higher compared to April 2015 according to new data from Oliver Hume.

The trend points to growing buyer confidence and robust demand for land development opportunities according to the national property firm. April 2016 recorded 1,503 transactions – a firm increase from April 2015 data, which recorded 1,245 sales.

The sales volumes are the highest for April since the leading property firm began tracking data in 2004 with 2016’s April sales representing a minimum 12-year high.

Oliver Hume Research Manager George Bougias said the result speaks volumes about Melbourne’s land market.

“The results represent the highest volume of transactions for the month of April since 2004 when Oliver Hume began recording the data – back when transaction numbers rarely reached over 500, with April 2004 itself only recording 386 transactions. Recent data reflects the continued strength in the market which we have seen in recent years,” he said.

“Since April 2014, we’ve seen year-on-year annual growth in monthly sales ranging from 62 per cent (April 2014 to April 2013), 38 per cent (April 2015 compared to April 2014) and now 21 per cent (April 2016 compared to April 2015),” Mr Bougias concluded.

“Leading the charge in 2016 are Melbourne’s western corridor markets with 689 sales in April 2016 with Wyndham, Casey and Melton the strongest performing locations accounting for 23 per cent, 19 per cent, and 23 per cent of the total, respectively. “

Sales slowed toward the end of 2015 with expected seasonal drops at Christmas, but 2016 has seen monthly sales consistently rise.

“Sales are expected to remain strong as population growth continues and lower interest rates support demand,” he said.

Top performing regions

“Melton has experienced a significant increase in sales coinciding with Bridgefield’s (Rockbank) launch in March this year, and the resulting interest from buyers,” Mr Bougias said. “The top 10 performing projects have delivered a median sales rate of 28 transactions per month.”

Median land prices

Gross median land prices ranged from $152,275 in Melton to $230,100 in Casey.

“Median lot prices are now seeing a bump in growth after an extended period of relative stability, a marked trend visible in locations including Cardinia, Casey and Whittlesea, indicative of broader movement in outer Melbourne.”

“Buyers are taking the leap and buying land as a true asset which speaks to confidence.

“There is a visible resumption on price growth clearly evident upon looking at the cycles.”

Time on Market

“Average time on market saw a two-third reduction of 62 per cent since 2012 to notch the current all-time low of 2.4 months signifying the pure speed of sales.

“The most recent peak of 6.6 months was recorded during the fourth quarter of 2012.”

Oliver Hume Director Paul Ciprian said the rising Victorian population combined with steadily improving economic conditions while supporting sales.

“As Victoria’s population and economy have continued to grow, so has the number of buyers looking for opportunities to build a home.

“The month of April represents a high point in the market cycle,” he said.

“Sales volumes have seen an historical jump, production levels are now at capacity and prices remain affordable, particularly when compared to Sydney.

“But at the same time, strong land sales activity and development during the last few years has begun to impact inventory and the amount land available for purchase.

“Upward pricing pressures are being restrained by a desire for wider Melbourne projects to secure market share, which is great news for buyers.”

Source: The Urban Developer

13 May 2016

Buyers hot for Melbourne land as time on market reaches new low

George Bougias

The average time on the market for land in Melbourne’s growth corridors has reached a new recent low, according to research by property group Oliver Hume.

The research, compiled from analysing more than 4,000 transactions at more than 135 active projects, shows the average time on market for land in Melbourne in the first quarter of 2016 was 2.5 months.

With the exception of the first quarter of 2015, the average time on market as fallen every quarter since the third quarter of 2013 or remained steady, after peaking in the current cycle at 6.6 at the end of 2012.

The research reflects Oliver Hume’s experience on the ground. The company has sold 118 blocks of land at the Bridgefield Estate in Melbourne’s west in the six weeks since the development’s official launch in March.

The first land release of the 3L Alliance and Goldfields-developed $320 million estate at Rockbank has received unparalleled attention from the local market after more than 20 groups of buyers slept overnight in cars to secure one of the first 57 lots last month.

Oliver Hume Director Paul Ciprian said low interest rates were a key driver for sales.

“The RBA’s rate cuts are certainly an added incentive for buyers on top of Bridgefield’s existing affordability and high quality land and lifestyle offering,” he said.

“A good value, high quality opportunity like Bridgefield will always attract buyers. All signs point strongly to this community (Bridgefield) being very tightly held now and in the coming years,” he said.

Oliver Hume Research Manager George Bougias said the low time on market was a reflection of the strong demand for land across all growth corridors in Melbourne.

“This record low can be attributed to several factors, but primarily it is a function of the declining cost of borrowing and increasing levels of consumer and investor confidence as a result of the strong Victorian economy,” he said.

“Affordability is a key factor which is underpinning demand as well,” he said. “Melbourne is still regarded as one of the most affordable cities in Australia and attracting buyers from all over the country.”

“We expect the time on market statistic to stay relatively low for the rest of the year before heading back to more traditional levels in the medium term,” he said.

While the Melbourne land sales market is the strongest he’s seen in some time, Mr Bougias said buyers need to be conscious that conditions could change over the next 12 months.

“APRA’s move to tighten investment lending affected the market as did banks amending loan serviceability criteria – these changes are now working their way through the system. It’s crucial for investors to continue to remain aware of broader market conditions,” he said.

Source: The Urban Developer

01 April 2016

Buyers camp out to secure land at Bridgefield

Aerial view of Bridgefield

More than 20 groups of buyers camped out to secure land in the first stage of Bridgefield, a new $320 million community at 1230 Leakes Rd, Rockbank in Melbourne’s west.

Stage One of the 1000-lot estate, being developed by 3L Alliance and Goldfields, was released on March 19 and recorded 49 sales in the first week.

The developer said it expects to sell the remaining eight lots quickly, prompting an earlier-than-forecast release of the second stage.

Goldfields Marketing Director, Mr Rohan Ames, said buyers were attracted to Bridgefield’s easy access to the nearby Rockbank train station, a planned shopping centre, a residents’ club and the estate’s commitment to landscaping and recreation areas.

“Bridgefield is one of few new residential communities serviced by an established train station that’s within walking distance,” Mr Ames said.

Internationally renowned garden guru Wes Fleming has overseen the design of 16 hectares of botanic gardens and green spaces throughout the community, while buyers will have the choice of one of six free landscape treatments for their front garden, also overseen by Wes Fleming.

“On top of that, the Bridgefield residents’ club – including swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, residents’ lounge and function room – is an entirely new offer for the area.”

Civil construction works are planned to begin in mid-2016, with the first residents expected to move in by mid-2017. Lot sizes in Stage One range from 221 square metres to 799 sqm. Prices start at $134,000.

Source: The Urban Developer

29 March 2016

Fender Katsalidis, Cox twin towers to be among tallest in Melbourne

Victoria’s Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved a twin tower development in Melbourne’s CBD designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects (FKA) and Cox Architecture.

The $750 million project, dubbed Queens Place, is sited near the crest of Flagstaff Hill, the highest point in Melbourne, making the 270-metre, 79-storey residential towers among the tallest buildings in the city when completed.

Developer 3L Alliance ran a limited design competition for the site in which FKA and Cox Architecture submitted separate schemes. At the conclusion of the competition the developer suggested the architects combine their proposals, blending Cox Architecture’s podium design and FKA’s towers, which resulted in the practices’ collaboration on the project.

The development at 350 Queen Street is located one block south of the Queen Victoria Market, which is also slated for development. The design scheme aims to connect with this context.

“We know the market precinct is about to change quite dramatically,” said Patrick Ness, design director at Cox Architecture. “Our early thought was […] to generate a project that links in with the broader streetscape.”

Nicky Drobis, director of design at Fender Katsalidis, added, “It was really a ground plane-led solution for the site.”

The five-level podium is conceived as a three-dimensional public space, with a series of arcades and laneways that will be activated with a mixed-use program consisting of a crèche, a gym, workplaces, residential (in the form of loft apartments), retail and restaurants. “It’s like a mini-town,” Ness said.

“Rob Adams [director of city design at the City of Melbourne] talks about how the first 25 metres of a building defines exactly what it is – what kind of life can come into that space. So instead of the podium being a foyer with Prada in it, [it’s designed] as a liveable, useable, breathing thing.”

An existing 21-storey commercial office building on the site will be retained. “We’ve re-skinned it in a way that it can engage with the new streets,” Ness explained. “We’re putting new program in it so that it becomes a contributor to the public realm.

“The second thing is it’s a bit like a pebble in a stream. It forms the way that the streets and lanes moved around it.”

Above the podium levels rise two residential towers containing 1,600 apartments ranging from one- to four-bedrooms.

“These tower forms are very much of the school of sculpted buildings sheathed in a simple and sleek façade,” Drobis said. “It starts with the most efficient floor plate which is a double loaded, single corridor floor plate. And the external shaping of the façade gives us the form of the building.”

The tower forms step away from each other as they ascend towards the sky and are topped with a “lit crown.”

“It’s a screening mechanism – it serves a purpose in terms of discreetly hiding all of the plant and utility zones up on the roof,” Drobis explained. “But it acts as a marker for those two towers within the landscape.”

The project will be constructed in two stages, the first is the tower to north of the site, which will then be followed by the southern tower.

Source: ArchitectureAU

12 March 2016

Mega apartment project gets green light in Melbourne CBD

A syndicate of expatriate Chinese investors has won approval to develop a $1 billion, high-rise apartment project, creating one of the largest residential developments in the Melbourne CBD.

Approval for the massive project, which will deliver 1800 apartments in twin 79-storey towers, comes amid growing unease the apartment boom will culminate in oversupply.

A grim scenario has been outlined for the Melbourne and Brisbane markets especially, with forecaster BIS Shrapnel predicting a “messy end” to the boom.

Undaunted, the 3L Alliance is pressing ahead with a spectacular project, dubbed Queens Place and designed by high-profile architects Fender Katsalidis and Cox Architecture.

The syndicate – the family names of its shareholders begin with the letter L – bought the 350 Queen Street site off-market two years ago for $135 million.

On the 7295-square-metre site already is a 21-storey tower, with plenty of room to develop further. The site is on a corner with La Trobe Street, near the popular Queen Victoria Market precinct.

Recruited to the 3L Alliance camp is heavy-hitting consultancy Hawker Britton, better known for its work lobbying governments than for spruiking property developments.

“We’ve deliberately set out to be an exemplar project in design and community outcome,” said 3L Alliance general manager Gavin Boyd. “We’ve responded to the policy challenges being put forward by the state government and the city of Melbourne.”

Although it was assessed under now out-dated planning rules, the Queens Place project has won approval as both city and state authorities pay closer attention to skyscraper design, inside and out.

Dog boxes in the sky

On Thursday, Melbourne’s lord mayor Robert Doyle delivered harsh words to the city’s high-rise developers, accusing some of creating “dog boxes in the sky”.

The final nod for Queens Place came from Planning Minister Richard Wynne, who praised the quality of its apartments, its setbacks from the street and other features including a childcare centre.

“The Queen Street project is a good example of how developers are responding to our push for a higher standard across Melbourne,” Mr Wynne said.

“Apartments are more than just an investment asset, we need to treat them as people’s homes, and,  while not everyone wants to live in a big apartment, affordable options can still be liveable.”

The prospect of a looming apartment oversupply was of less concern to Mr Wynne, who noted the inner city needs an estimated 45,000 new homes in the next 15 years to accommodate population growth.

But some developers have got cold feet already. Among them, BRW Rich Lister Paul Little is selling a city-fringe project with approval for 940 apartments. In the CBD, Singapore-based Fragrance is offloading a major Collins Street site, where it had hoped to develop a 91-storey tower.

Melbourne’s inner city market has been averaging 6000 apartment completions in the last three years. Over the next three years, the run rate is forecast to hit 8000 annually.

“It’s treading water at the moment. If it takes another step up, it will probably start sinking,” said BIS Shrapnel’s Angie Zigomanis.

Source: The Australian Financial Review