Melbourne Developer Unveils Second Inner-City Apartment Project


Boutique developer JCL Prime has revealed plans for its second project in central Melbourne.

The local firm, headed by Eric Loi and Lawrence Choong, has lodged plans with the Yarra City Council for a “high-quality” residential development in Clifton Hill.

The 60-apartment development is planned for a 1500sq m site at 15-33 Queens Parade which the developer paid $8.3 million for in December 2020.

The six-storey apartment building will replace a 1300sq m single-storey former hardware and garden centre that has sat vacant for a number of years.

The tiered apartment block has been designed by Cera Stribley, which was selected by a design competition. The design comprises a three-storey podium, three upper levels and a communal enclosed rooftop.

The development will include 18 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom apartments above two levels of basement car parking for 73 cars. It will also include 345sq m of ground-floor retail space for a restaurant, cafe and shop.

According to the application, the building’s biophilic design will connect its eventual occupants more closely to nature by emphasising increased light, ventilation and planting throughout a building.

Pending approvals, the project’s construction will be overseen by builder Henny, a construction company also headed up by Loi.

The Clifton Hill project is one of three in the developer’s $150-million pipeline along with an advanced development in Surrey Hills, in the city’s inner west, and another on the horizon in Toorak, south-east of the CBD.

The developer said the early aim was to deliver high quality and affordable solutions within projects in blue-chip locations designed for local buyers.

▲ Like most of its neighbouring apartment buildings, the project will extend to the full site extents at its lower levels and then set back above the street wall. Image: Cera Stribley

All three sites were secured around the beginning of the year, and the developer is still actively looking to restock its pipeline with quality, centrally located development sites.

The developer’s twin-building development in Surrey Hills, Arbour Park, has been designed by Elenberg Fraser.

The project, across a 2500sq m at 352-358 Canterbury Road, launched in March and includes 43 apartments priced between $700,000 and $2.5 million.

The development features a club lounge or work space to accommodate those working from home as well as a large entertaining space on the rooftop.

Melbourne property values have risen 16.3 per cent during the past year in the wake of record low interest rates, government stimulus and cash savings caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

Apartments, which were largely ignored during the pandemic as buyers sought detached houses in regional areas, have since bounced back with prices climbing by a more subdued 9 per cent over the year.

The expected return of international buyers that will coincide with falling apartment approvals and commencements has meant a coming shortage of apartments in Melbourne could further drive up unit prices.

In neighbouring Fitzroy, developer Piccolo has recently lodged plans for a similarly scaled 49-apartment project, valued at $120 million.

Further south in East Melbourne, Sydney-based developer Luxcon is moving ahead on its first Melbourne project, a $130-million upmarket development, featuring just 24 apartments, overlooking Fitzroy Gardens.

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