Grollo develops in a new direction

The Grollo Group, whose projects are etched in concrete on Melbourne's skyline, is repositioning its construction arm Equiset as a stand-alone builder-developer with a large forward book of residential projects.

The Grollo Group, whose projects are etched in concrete on Melbourne's skyline, is repositioning its construction arm Equiset as a stand-alone builder-developer with a large forward book of residential projects.

Grollo CEO Lorenz Grollo said Equiset was "transitioning" from being predominantly focused on building to a fully integrated development company.

Equiset has a forward list of projects that include the boutique Hawthorn Hill apartments at the old Salvation Army Citadel in Burwood Road, a 138-unit project on the corner Queensberry and Capel streets, North Melbourne, and the pencil-thin 464 Collins Street tower it hopes to launch next September.

"We're doing these projects 100 per cent ourselves," Mr Grollo said.

The group was particularly looking to expand its residential offering. "In our view Melbourne will continue to grow. One part of our business is certainly going to be focused on residential development."

The 61 apartments set to rise seven levels above Hawthorn will incorporate two historic buildings on the site, Allenby House and the citadel.

The development was opposite Swinburne University so it was a difficult decision not to target the student market, said Equiset's development manager Nicholas Wilkinson.

The upmarket $40 million project, designed by architects Rothe Lowman, had instead gained interest from owner-occupiers and was about two-thirds sold.

Equiset intends to start construction early next year.

Hawthorn Hill was the "first of a series of higher quality developments at strategic locations across Melbourne which are to be rolled out over the next 18 months," Mr Wilkinson said.

An $88 million, four-level development in North Melbourne called Assembly will be designed by architects Woods Bagot. Construction is due to start next June.

Equiset is close to completing one of Melbourne's skinniest buildings for another developer, a 28-level apartment tower on the site of the former Phoenix nightclub at 82 Flinders Street.

It also has plans for its own pencil-thin structure at 464 Collins Street where it will transform the historic facade of the three-storey Makers Mark building into a 180-metre high apartment and office tower.

Along with Equiset, the Grollo Group owns half of the Rialto building and the Mount Buller Ski Resort.

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