Time set for bold complex
Developer United Asia Group expects to start construction on a proposed 400-apartment mixed-use development on Flemington Road by the end of this year.
The bold $160 million project in North Melbourne comprises three towers that will rise 13 stories above the leafy city boulevard opposite the new $1 billion Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, which is also expected to be finished in 2015.
"We will commence construction at the end of this year. We are confident based on our initial market response and aim to launch the project by June-September this year," UAG director Nicole Chow said.
The new building will replace a former car dealership on the corner of Blackwood Street.
The building's podium will have a residential-scale facade of textured masonry, concrete and metalwork inspired by the Victorian terraces nearby.
The suburb's character is also evident in the layered horizontal terraces that the building's architects, SJB, have designed into the Flemington Road facade, Ms Chow said. Its lower-rise sections will form an active urban edge with the street interface.
The yet-to-be-named development will house four retail tenancies on the ground floor totalling 465 square metres.
Some of the building's 173 one-bedroom and 227 two-bedroom units will overlook an internal garden designed by SJB in association with renowned landscape designer Jack Merlo.
The internal aspect of the building will provide an artichoke-like layered effect with the heart focused on the garden, with gymnasium, spa and sauna facilities at the lower level, and a pool, garden and barbecue terrace on the rooftop, she said.
Ms Chow - whose company has completed more than 40 projects worth $375 million since starting in Australia 16 years ago - is specific about what the building will offer.
"I wanted it to appeal to young couples looking for an affordable apartment, their first entry point into the market," she said.
It was also targeted towards students and staff of the city's nearby university, research and medical precincts.
UAG joins a growing list of boutique developers targeting the city's northern fringe, which has been earmarked by the City of Melbourne as a key growth hub. The area is expected to employ 110,000 people and accommodate 80,000 residents by 2030.
But it is not the only focus for the company. UAG's Emblem apartments in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, is launching a final release, and construction is expected to be finished in October.
The $95 million development has 92 apartments and ground floor retail space.
"We are looking at a few projects including a boutique hotel acquisition," Ms Chow said. "We will acquire another site before the end of the financial year."