By Joseph Wong
MELBOURNE: The official launch of the second phase of Melbourne Square called BLVD in Southbank of Melbourne, Australia marks the beginning of a series of forthcoming projects arising from the collaboration of OSK Property and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
Located along 19 Hoff Boulevard Street, BLVD is a 73-storey apartment tower with a gross development value (GDV) of A$656mil (RM1.98bil). As the second component of the A$2.8bil five-acre freehold mixed-use development Melbourne Square, it comprises 591 units with built-ups ranging from 538 sq ft to 1,905 sq ft.
Occupying 0.6 acres, the unit prices range from A$517,000 to A$3.2mil. Most floors will have 11 units but levels 56 and above, being the premier selection, will only have six units on each floor. The tower is slated to be fully completed by 2027 with units on the lower floors delivered as early as 2026.
It will also be the highest building in Melbourne Square. Thus far, 240 apartments, with a GDV of A$192mil, have been taken up, revealed OSK Holdings Bhd group managing director Ong Ju Yan.
The master developer is Yarra Park City Pty Ltd, a joint venture company between OSK Property — the property arm of OSK Holdings Bhd — and EPF.
"EPF started investing in Australia more than a decade ago, in the public equities domain and then moved on into private equities and real estate space. In 2017, EPF and OSK framed a partnership to develop Melbourne Square, one of the selective projects that EPF participated in outside of Malaysia.
"We are very careful in selecting our investments, especially overseas development. We are happy with what we have delivered in Stage 1 despite many headwinds caused by the disruption of the Covid pandemic and we are excited and look forward to our next tower the Boulevard (BLVD)," said EPF chief investment officer Rohaya Mohammad Yusof.
Pleased with the success of phase one, she added that EPF looked forward to future collaborations with OSK Property. The first stage of Melbourne Square, previously an open-air car park space, comprises two towers of 1,054 apartments, over 65,000 sq ft of retail space and a one-acre park. Only 48 units are still up for grabs.
The retail space is anchored by the 44,132 sq ft Woolworths supermarket, six speciality stores and a premier childcare centre, Nido Early School. The other stores are occupied by an Asian grocery, a cafe and a restaurant serving Malaysian cuisine, among others.
On the future collaboration with EPF, Ju Yan revealed that Yarra Park City is working on growing its presence in Melbourne. The developer has acquired about two acres of land in Southbank, consisting of two adjoining sites, for an estimated A$97 million. The new project will be mainly residential towers with a row of retail lots on the ground floor offering shopping and convenience to the residents.
At the launching ceremony of BLVD, Ju Yan said that the design and layout of the units had been carefully planned.
“We are taking into consideration the needs of homebuyers and investors," he said, adding that the developer will be applying for a WELL certification, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
BLVD will be a gas-free building with improved insulation in walls and ceilings to provide better air, lighting and thermal comfort as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
Facilities, which will be spread across Levels 8, 25, 55 and 56, include an outdoor park, a 25-metre swimming pool, a spa and sauna, a gymnasium, a golf simulator room, a cinema, a karaoke room, dining rooms with kitchen facilities and a co-working space.
Meanwhile, Ju Yan noted that two half-court basketball courts are currently under construction for A$1mil in collaboration with the Melbourne City Council. The effort will promote better placemaking for the Southbank neighbourhood and the city of Melbourne.