There’s an Elephant in your South YARRA backyard!

There’s an Elephant in your South YARRA backyard!

US property giant Greystar (the Elephant) has been given the green light to build a $500-million, dual-tower build-to-rent project on a “supersite” in Melbourne’s affluent suburb of South Yarra.

This is the largest Build to Rent development to receive a permit in Australia, allowing for the construction of 625 units and 2,400 square metres of retail and commercial office space.

The layout of the project will include two towers over a combined basement. The 30-storey Yara Street tower will include 382 build-to-rent apartments while the 21-storey Claremont Street tower will house 243 fully furnished, flexible living apartments.

The development is the first cab off the rank from a $1.3 billion fund Greystar put together, backed by Canada’s Ivanhoé Cambridge, Dutch giant APG Asset Management, and Ilmarinen, Finland’s largest pension fund.

Greystar managing director in Australia Chris Key told The Urban Developer the company’s global footprint and ability to tap into detailed customer insights had allowed it to approach the Australian market with confidence.

“We operate more than 2600 rental communities in markets that span the globe and have had the experience of moving into, and growing with, markets where the build-to-rent sector is only in its earliest stages of evolution,” Key said.

“This purposeful design will not only deliver a best-in-class build-to-rent experience to consumers with expertly managed apartments, workspaces and abundant amenity areas, but it will also introduce an innovative new flexible living typology to Australian renters. This project is not just the largest development of its kind, but it is an important step in increasing the diversity of housing choice in Australia,” said Chris Key

The Build to Rent market in Australia is in its early stages – but it’s a highly regarded emerging asset class building on the success of the model in international markets. The success of Build to Rent in Australia is in collaboration with stakeholders, showcasing not just the positive social and environmental impacts on the housing industry, but also the overall benefit that Build-to-Rent developments offer to the construction industry and the Australian economy.

This new development will create approximately 970 jobs during the construction phase, and approximately 150 further jobs through the office, retail and onsite management post-completion.

The Greystar project is due to get underway early next year, taking advantage of a 50 per cent land tax break for BTR projects that is due to commence next year under a state government incentive.

However, BTR developers and investors are awaiting further detail on the concession, Mr Key said.

“We’re not going to do any work on any of our sites until the legislation is in place, and it’s clear as to what enables your entitlement to that discount.” The state government did not respond to the request for comment.

The South Yarra project is among the first movers in this country for an asset class that is firmly established elsewhere in the world. ASX-listed Mirvac has a number of projects underway, as does Oxford Properties, partnered by Investa. US platforms Sentinel and Hines are also in the sector.

Fender Katsalidis director, James Pearce said the project promotes modern living among its future residents. He said the podium design focuses on enhancing the “pedestrian journey” for the community while the two towers provide residents with a view of the surrounding landscape.

The project will also provide residents with a convenient way to access the South Yarra train station with a new pedestrian laneway. Furthermore, the two towers will have retail offerings on their ground levels.

Mr Pearce said this will contribute to the precinct and neighbourhood amenity.

“Our design centres on integrating build-to-rent and flex housing into the character of South Yarra’s Forrest Hill precinct through the incorporation of amenity and a focus on the site’s context,” Mr Pearce said.

“The towers will be distinct but achieve cohesion using colours and materiality, with the architecture providing the foundations to allow Greystar to operate numerous services and provide a high-quality living experience for its residents.”

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