Melbourne property developer Local has laid plans for a $360 million build-to-rent (BTR) project at Box Hill that will form the second stage of SKY SQR, a three-level retail-commercial project currently under way by Jeff Xu’s Golden Age Group.
Local has acquired the development rights for the residential component of the project, a turnkey acquisition that will deliver 425 apartments to the market with 37 units committed to impact housing.
The Box Hill project is the second turnkey project in Local’s inaugural external vehicle, the Local Australian Turnkey Venture, and sits alongside a 406-apartment BTR project in South Melbourne.
The Box Hill development, located at 517-521 Station Street on the former Whitehorse City Council car park, will comprise two towers of 16 levels each to rise above SKY SQR, a development that Golden Age plans to become a new food, lifestyle and retail precinct for Box Hill.
The expansive three-level SKY SQR will effectively become the podium for the development, offering a food precinct spanning about 12,000sqm that will also incorporate a child care centre.
“Golden Age has an exceptional track record in delivering high-quality mixed-use projects in sought-after locations,” says Local’s co-CEO Matt Berg.
“The growth in the market of Box Hill has been extraordinary and we believe the location will endure through market cycles.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Jeff and his best-in-class team to deliver this project”.
The BTR development will provide 1,170sqm of outdoor green spaces alongside a range of exclusive amenities.
Residents will have access to an 80-seat coworking space, three private dining rooms, a 20-metre indoor pool, exercise and wellness studios, games and entertainment rooms, and pet wash and electric car share facilities.
The $360 million BTR project bolsters Local’s development portfolio to $1.1 billion, comprising a pipeline of more than 1,300 apartments over three projects in just two years of operation.
Local’s head of capital transactions Chris Axsentieff says the Box Hill location is primed to benefit from the development of the suburban rail loop connecting key metropolitan activity centres with the outer suburbs of Melbourne.
“Local is determined to deliver attainable projects in inner to middle ring locations so more renters can enjoy thriving suburbs like Box Hill, which are tightly held and established residential markets with amenity that appeals to a broad range of prospective residents,” Axsentieff says.
“We take a focused approach when considering our development sites, identifying the specific needs of an area and what value we can bring the local community.
"When we looked at Box Hill, we saw a close-knit, diverse community and strong local economy, which we want to build on.”
Axsentieff sees the enhancement of infrastructure at Box Hill driving the suburb’s future as ‘somewhat of a second CBD’.
“We are excited to be partnering with Golden Age Group to create residential projects for new and existing residents to enjoy this vibrant and well-connected suburb,” he says.
In line with Local’s ESG commitments, 37 apartments in the BTR development are committed to impact housing. Local's impact housing model incorporates a minimum of 10 per cent social, affordable and specialist disability accommodation in each of its developments.
Local says it has successfully established a housing model delivering tangible social benefits that achieve commercial returns without the assistance of government support or tax concessions.
The company says its impact housing model incorporates a minimum of 10 per cent social, affordable and specialist disability accommodation in each development, with plans to grow this to a minimum of 1,500 social and affordable homes over the next decade as it targets a development pipeline of more than $5 billion.
Golden Age Group founder and managing director Jeff Xu chose Local as a development partner after extensive research to determine the ‘right direction for this project’.
“Box Hill is the perfect location for build-to-rent and we have always seen ourselves as a co-developer of Box Hill, so it’s important every project aligns with the council’s strategic vision and the needs of current and future residents,” Xu says.
“Local’s commitment to community aligns closely with ours and collectively, we will deliver an unprecedented and iconic project to Box Hill, continuing to shape this vibrant suburb by providing a fresh offering.”
Construction of the BTR project will begin in the first quarter of 2024, with residents expected to move in late 2025. Golden Age has already begun construction of SKY SQR.
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