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Culture Shifts Shape of Hobart Development


MONA founder David Walsh is continuing to shape Hobart, influencing Riverlee’s central precinct design after telling the developers “you can’t build culture”.

Now, other developers are following suit.

The shift to community-led projects is gaining traction in Tasmania as developers engage with residents and local groups to contribute to planning, increase sales and overcome the resistance to “mainlanders”.

Riverlee development director David Lee said that although they had a planning permit for a commercial building with more than 20,000sq m they were back in the design phase.

“We picked up 7000sq m in the city from about a dozen transactions in 20 years,” Lee said during The Urban Developer In Focus: Hobart webinar.

“We said, ‘Okay here’s three, four, five buildings and this would have a civic place, a cultural heart, it would be $200-250 million development that would become a cultural centre for Hobart’.

“David Walsh [said to us] ‘That’s not how you build culture, that is not a cultural precinct, culture is built by people, it’s built by the city, it’s not built by architects or developers’, that kind of shocked us ... it was a bit of a moment where we stopped and had to reflect.

“From there we flipped the masterplan on its head.

“We turned half the site into what we call In The Hanging Garden.

“The buildings will come next but the culture has been built and that’s the hardest part.”

Related: Hobart School Makes Way for $300m Kings Quarter

▲ The Commons Hobart was completed in 2020, the seven-storey building has 30 apartments and has a similar vertical community design as Small Giant’s Brunswick, Melbourne project.
▲ The Commons Hobart was completed in 2020, the seven-storey building has 30 apartments and has a similar vertical community design as Small Giant’s Brunswick, Melbourne project.


Opposite the Liverpool Street precinct at 126 Bathurst Street, developer Small Giants used a similar strategy to build a community to sell apartments.

Small Giants co-founder Berry Liberman said they had focused on sustainability-conscious individuals to create a community within The Commons Hobart.

“We put a lot of time and energy into establishing the community first, so before we even sold an apartment our marketing strategy was from the community up,” Liberman told The Urban Developer In Focus: Hobart webinar.

“We wanted to get people whose values aligned into the building, not just buying in for investment.

“It’s unusual as a model and we didn't get much pushback at all. People were excited to see this.”

The number of developments in Hobart is on the rise as he city's council makes planning changes to double the density as dwelling prices continue to rise.

According to Corelogic the median house price in Hobart has increased 12.5 per cent to $548,868 and unit prices are up 11.2 per cent to a median of $453,726 during the past 12 months.

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Article originally posted at: https://www.theurbandeveloper.com/articles/culture-shifts-hobart-property-play