Orchard Piper Secures Approval for $120m East Melbourne Project


Melbourne-based developer Orchard Piper has secured approval for a nine-storey apartment development in East Melbourne.

The $120-million project will comprise 14 apartments across six levels and two floors for commercial tenancies, all with views of Melbourne’s CBD or the Fitzroy Gardens.

The site currently includes two heritage homes, which will be retained as part of the development including the three-storey Victorian terrace on the site to be renovated and offered as a townhouse.

Orchard Piper director Luke McKie said the strategic site acquisition and planning permit represented a significant step up for Orchard Piper, which has previously worked on smaller boutique developments in South Yarra, Toorak and Armadale.

“We have been actively acquiring sites through the Covid period with a view to significantly bolstering our pipeline as we move into more substantial projects in Melbourne’s best locations,” McKie said.

“This East Melbourne project has been designed in direct response to more than 13 years of market feedback from our local owner occupiers.”

▲ Orchard Piper directors Luke McKie and Rick Gronow have embarked on the joint venture with Harold Handelsman’s Sun Valley Constructions.
▲ Orchard Piper directors Luke McKie and Rick Gronow have embarked on the joint venture with Harold Handelsman’s Sun Valley Constructions.

The project, on track to be launched later this year, has been designed by Jolson, marking the sixth collaboration between the architecture firm and the developer.

The deal to acquire the amalgamated 1200sq m site at 364-370 Albert Street was put together in an off-market transaction over a 12 month period.

McKie said the developer’s decision to move into the area had been spurred by its popularity as a CBD fringe location, with the suburb’s median house price sitting at $3.3 million.

Orchard Piper has also purchased three additional sites during the past year, padding out their development pipeline to $450 million.

The developer has partnered with Harold Handelsman’s Sun Valley Constructions, the owner of the site, on the project.

Handelsman also has a half stake in an apartment project earmarked for a vacant block at 31 Queens Road on the south side of the city—155 luxury apartments in a 16-storey building opposite Albert Park Lake.

The development will sit alongside a nine-level office building that Sydney developer Luxcon has marked as its first foray into Melbourne’s residential market.

Luxcon’s managing director Ilya Melnikoff settled a $30-million transaction in January with Run Property Group founder Nathan Cher and plans to build 24 high-end residences on the site with an estimated end value of $130 million.

Construction on Luxcon’s East Melbourne project is due to begin in June.

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