ONE of the first apartment buildings in Melbourne designed to adhere to the new Apartment Design Guidelines for Victoria has hit the market.
And early responses from the public have hinted complying projects may have an edge over those that predate the Guidelines.
Alchemy, a seven-storey development at 199 Peel St, North Melbourne, had its grand opening on October 21.
S/Projects founder Sam McGuinness said while they had been collecting inquiries in the weeks leading up to the launch, the opening day had attracted a number of buyers.
“It was the first chance to show people the new plans and we have built a full kitchen and bathroom in there,” Mr McGuinness said.
“We had quite a few groups through.”
There were three contracts signed at the launch, with an additional two buyers making reservation payments.
With apartments that meet the guidelines now competing with those that predate them, buyers are noticing the difference, according to Mr McGuinness.
“A lot of people shop around, and we are getting a lot of people coming back and commenting on the differences,” he said.
“Mainly on the width and the layouts and the ceiling heights and the storage — there’s a lot more than you might find in a more typical apartment.”
He added that with the apartment market shifting to favour owner/occupier-focused designs, the guidelines, which are not mandatory, had come into effect at a good time.
And a lot of the interest in Alchemy so far has come from the buyer demographics most likely to benefit from the Guidelines.
“A lot of our inquiry is the owner-occupier market, and quite a few first-home buyers — parents with their kids — looking at some of the one-bedroom apartments,” Mr McGuinness said.
While the development’s wide street frontage ensured all the apartments would have a significant width — one-bedroom apartments are 11m wide — and exposure to natural light, Mr McGuinness said they had raised ceiling heights, expanded balconies and layouts in response to the guidelines.
Hayball Architects managing director Tom Jordan said there had been a noticeable difference in the Alchemy project and many of those constructed in recent years.
“It well exceeds the new guidelines,” Mr Jordan said.
Wider apartments meant more natural light, but also more views, better outlooks and larger balconies, he added.
“And there would be many sites around Melbourne that could do this,” he said.
RPM project marketing head Cameron Yates said the apartments also offered an attractive lifestyle, with parks, eateries, and shops including the Queen Victoria Market all within walking distance.
“North Melbourne has undergone major rejuvenation in recent years, while retaining a charming village feel,” Mr Yates said.
“It’s an inner-Melbourne gem that will continue to flourish.”
Alchemy is expected to commence construction in early 2018, and be completed by mid-2019.
It will have a metallic materials palette, with a bronzed facade to add to the diversity already on show in Peel St, according to Mr Jordan.
It will include 47 apartments with floorplans including one, two and three-bedroom layouts.