St Regis Shelved as Mirvac Grows Build-to-Rent Portfolio


As Australia looks to construction to help rebuild the economy post-Covid-19, developer Mirvac continues to grow its Melbourne office and build-to-rent pipeline, revising plans for a $1 billion complex on the site of the former Melbourne Convention Centre.

The ASX-listed developer acquired 7-23 Spencer Street, Docklands, for $200 million in late 2019, with approval previously granted for three residential apartment towers, and Marriott-owned St Regis named as a hotel operator for one of them.

Now, Mirvac is seeking approval for a revised precinct masterplan on the site located at the corner of Spencer and Flinders street.

Gone is the proposed five-star St Regis hotel, with only two
Fender Katsalidis-designed towers now under consideration:
a 20-storey, A-grade office tower next to the Crowne Plaza hotel and a 33-storey, 472-key build-to-rent apartment block, backing onto Flinders Street.

Both buildings will have about 1800sq m of retail outlets in a new arcade link and public plaza along Siddeley Street.

Mirvac—which established its "build-to-rent" club in 2018—would manage and lease the apartments to tenants long-term through its property division.

The build-to-rent tower will be Mirvac's third such Melbourne development, with projects at Queen Victoria Markets and Brunswick also under way, and its LIV Indigo project at Sydney Olympic Park—touted as Australia's first large-scale foray into the field—also due for completion in coming months.

Mirvac chief investment officer Brett Draffen said the proposed scheme and the inclusion of the build to rent tower were driven by the diversified developer's commitment to create a precinct that best addresses the needs of its customers as well as deliver the greatest public benefit to the Melbourne community.

“Our vision for Flinders West is to deliver Mirvac’s first commercial, build to rent and retail development—an entirely new model of mixed-use urban precinct.

"The proposal also includes a significant public realm component focused on wellness, sustainability and amenity, with a variety of public spaces and green retreats that will be activated through curated events for future workers, residents and the public to enjoy.”

With commencement currently slated for mid-to late-2021, Daffen said the project could commence sooner, and had been lodged for fast-tracking via the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce.

Commenting on the increasingly positive prospects for the emerging institutional asset class of build to rent in helping pave the way for the nation's recovery post-pandemic, Mirvac general manager Adam Hirst last week told The Urban Developer the model was well placed to “supercharge” residential construction due to the absence of pre-sales to kickstart projects—making them truly “shovel-ready”.

“While the fundamentals driving demand for build to rent in Australia have not changed, the uncertainty and financial instability caused by Covid-19 are likely to make build-to-rent an increasingly attractive option,” Hirst said.

Capping off a busy few months for Mirvac regardless of market uncertainty due to the pandemic, the diversified developer recently gained approval for its joint venture with Coombes Property Group to build Sydney's tallest residential tower as well as a $250 million logistics hub and lodged plans for a 143-apartment tower in central Brisbane.

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