Melbourne’s Hamton Property Group has secured approval to redevelop the former Hawthorn campus of the University of Melbourne in a $500 million mixed-use project comprising 350 apartments.
With the 1.6ha site last year rezoned from Public Use Zone to Residential Growth Zone, Victoria’s Minister for Planning has approved the company’s development plan which incorporates six buildings ranging from three to seven levels set amid landscaped parkland and natural habitat.
The state government says at least 10 per cent of the apartments will be devoted to affordable housing as part of the development approval.
Hamton Property Group bought the former campus, described as surplus to the University of Melbourne’s needs, in early 2022 for a reported $50 million. The acquisition of the Auburn Road site is due to settle in early March subject to the rezoning.
The university will apply proceeds from the sale to its new $650 million Australian Institute for Infectious Disease in Parkville.
“This approval from the Minister for Planning enables the delivery of meaningful new housing supply in the popular inner east of Melbourne, where development opportunities of scale are non-existent, and demand for high-quality residences continues to outstrip supply,” says Hamton founder and executive chairman Paul Hameister.
“Our vision for this development is to create a global exemplar of gentle medium density housing, with a collection of mid-rise buildings set within lush green parks and gardens that prioritise people and community, with excellence in sustainability at its core.”
Hameister says while there are about 100 currently on the site, only four are assessed as significant and need to be retained under the planning scheme.
“We are pleased that the Minister agreed with our decision to retain the vast majority of existing trees, and we will take our commitment to greening the habitat even further by planting an additional 100 trees to create a truly nature-based neighbourhood,” he says.
“Around one-third of the site will be green open space accessible by the local community, with deep soil planting zones that far exceed the statutory requirements.”
Hamton is planning to commit 10 per cent of the planned apartments to affordable housing for ‘moderate income earners’, including workers in essential services such as teachers at nearby schools.
The Victorian Government says the approval is among a raft of measures designed to fast-track approvals for projects that convert underutilised land into quality housing close to public transport, jobs and critical services.
Homes Victoria, as part of the government’s Big Housing Build program, is currently developing land adjacent to the former university campus site where 206 social and affordable homes are nearing completion.
The government says that the two developments combined will create a new 2.6ha precinct of integrated development with social, affordable and market housing.
Hamton plans to launch sales of its proposed Hawthorn development in the third quarter of this year with construction due to start in mid-2025.
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