Australia’s position as an environmental vanguard is undisputed. It has spectacular natural beauty that nation and state both want to preserve and protect, and so the country has some of the toughest building code on the books anywhere. If you’re looking for a green investment then Frasers Property has just the items. With additional cooling measures and taxes coming into effect across Asia, investors are looking at alternatives, and Australia is a preferred destination. Frasers is presenting a series of innovative penthouses to Hong Kong investors by appointment through Savills from April 17-19.
In Perth Frasers is offering Queens Riverside, located in East Perth’s renewal district. Overlooking the Swan River, the development that will ultimately comprise 400 flats and a Frasers hotel and will prove to be something of a novelty in the city. “Frasers is also … in the serviced apartment business and the Perth project has a Frasers Suites. From an Australian perspective there aren’t too many hotel/apartment mixed-used projects,” notes Guy Pahor, CEO of Frasers Property Australia. “So if you live in the penthouses you can dial up the hotel and get room service, cleaning service and so on. That makes it interesting in the Perth market.”
The property is walking distance to the CBD and will feature all the amenities and facilities expected of a luxury tower (completion is scheduled for 2014). The penthouses range in size from approximately 2,500 to 4,600 square feet and are priced between AU$2.75 and 3.5 million (HK$22-28 million). On top of it, Perth is booming on the back of its resources industries, giving it strong rental potential. “Rents up are up around 17 percent, the vacancy rate is effectively zero, and residential yields by Australian standards are high — around 6 percent,” Pahor adds.
Across the country in Sydney are the Norman Foster-designed Lumiere suites at Regent Place. Like most Foster buildings, Lumiere is destined for icon status, but with a personalised touch. “We’ve left them as shells, so you can put your own interior designer in there and do whatever you want,” explains Pahor, though buyers can opt for completed units.
Starting at 1,700 square feet (at approximately HK$22 million), Lumiere’s three-level penthouses feature floor-to-ceiling windows and unique glass ceilings. The views across to Botany Bay and the Blue Mountains will be like few others in Sydney from a similar location in the city centre, “Overlooking the Town Hall and opposite Town Hall railway station. You can’t get any more in the heart of everything,” Pahor notes.
But the jewel in the crown is probably Sky at One Central Park, which could be an example to sustainable urban planning for years to come if Sydney’s interesting in expanding the plans to other districts is any indication. Situated on six hectares on a 19th century brewery site, the AU$2 billion Central Park is the largest regeneration project in Australia after Barangaroo, with a total of 2.7 million square feet of residential, commercial, student housing, retail, hospitality and public space. Its scale sets it apart, as does the Jean Nouvel design, Patrick Blanc’s 30-storey external living green wall, the impeccable interiors and the 80-metre cantilever with revolving mirrors that reflect natural sunlight into the public spaces below.
But what really makes Central Park unique is the stuff of science fiction. “We just signed an agreement with Sydney Council for the funding of a central thermal plant and tri-generation facility,” Pahor states proudly. In lay terms: an on-site power plant provides electrical and thermal energy to the development but can also export power to the surrounding area. Central Park generates hot and cold water, cold water for air conditioning and has its own rain-, grey- and blackwater recycling plant. Pahor never utters the words “carbon neutral,” but this is the way to head in that direction.
Pahor chalks up development’s success to Frasers’ control over the entire project and a single vision that was in sync with the goals of a government actively looking to green itself. “We did have high aspirations … and it deserves a pretty high level response when you control that kind of land in the middle of the city,” he says. “It wasn’t like the sustainability initiatives were overlaid on a predetermined master plan. It was an integrated process where you couldn’t separate one conversation from the other … Sustainability is hard-wired into the development.” Central Park’s penthouses range from a relatively cosy 1,100 to 2,800 square feet and are priced from AU$1.3 to 2.9 million (HK$10.5-24 million).
So who are likely buyers? “No doubt it’s going to be a pretty exclusive group,” admits Pahor. “But we think it will be those with business links in Australia, families with a commitment to educating their kids at Australian universities; Central Park is smack bang in the education belt. And the recent Significant Investment Visa is increasing enquiries and buying a penthouse could be part of that process.” And probably those who think long term.