A new $180 million international university campus and 30-storey tower comprising student accommodation, co-living and co-working space is planned for Brisbane’s inner suburb of Fortitude Valley.
The development application for the major project will be lodged this month by Sydney fund manager Millinium Capital, with the first stage slated for completion by the end of 2020, pending approvals.
A 12-year lease agreement has been signed with the international NASDAQ-listed Torrens university for its new Fortitude Valley based campus, with its fit-out designed by Brisbane firm Arkhefield.
The development of the Waltons site, at 240 Brunswick Street and 11 Overells Lane, will span two stages with plans to transform a vacant building into an educational and residential hub on the 3489sq m site, furthering the regeneration push and growth of the higher education sector in the area.
Millinium Capital Managers, through its Millinium Alternatives Fund, said it has secured debt finance and “received firm interest from equity investors” for the first stage of its Waltons development project.
A project manager has been appointed for the project, but Millinium says it’s still in talks with tier one builders on the multi-million-dollar development.
Millinium, which has experience purchasing and managing hospitality assets including Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel, says it aims to maximise returns from the project’s second stage.
The Waltons site comprises several interconnected buildings located above Fortitude Valley’s train station.
The project’s first stage, expected to be completed by the end of 2020, will involve refurbishment of the heritage-listed Overells and Lincoln Mills buildings, and a university-owned restaurant will be established on the lower ground floor.
The second stage will involve the demolition of the former Waltons store and part of the Braggs building, retaining their facades, with a 30-storey tower proposed on the Waltons site, with the tower offering a mix of student and co-living accommodation and co-working space.
Expressions of interest will be sought to manage the student accommodation.
Millinium confirmed the development application and concept drawings will be lodged with council this month.
Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley
The area, which has been undergoing transformation, is one of Brisbane’s fastest growing areas with forecast population growth of 4.5 per cent per annum over the next decade.
Developer Silverstone this week announced it would be working with state government to deliver a revamp of the PCYC at 458 Wickham street.
The $43 million Fortitude Music Hall at 312 Brunswick Street, with a capacity of 3,300 opened this year, while a new cinema complex in the Valley Metro Centre recently received approval.
The Sydney fund manager describes the project as a “significant further step in the regeneration of the Fortitude Valley precinct”.
“The project will be transformative for Millinium’s Alternative Fund which is considering the acquisition of other quality property assets,” Millinium said in an announcement to the ASX.
“The fund intends to divest its non-property assets progressively and has appointed Boutique Global Securities Pty Ltd to manage these and the fund’s other assets, including the capital raised to fund the Waltons project.”
‘The margin will never be this close again’: Brisbane’s waterfront secret where property is still affordable
Think “Brisbane waterfront” and Moreton Bay darlings Wynnum and Manly quickly spring to mind.
But only 30 kilometres northeast, on the other side of the airport and a similar distance to the CBD, another bay-front suburb, Sandgate, appears.
The photogenic village topped Domain’s best performing Brisbane suburb list in 2018 with 18.8 per cent median house price growth.
Despite this overall rise in housing value, data-savvy local agent Jacqui McKeering makes the case that Sandgate’s waterfront properties are still undervalued compared to southside bay designer homes.
Ms McKeering, of Jim McKeering Real Estate, says Sandgate waterfront still remains great value because family groups have to buy further back to get more features.
“When the price-to-rateable-land-value gap narrows, you are getting a bit of a bargain,” she says.
“A simple calculation to illustrate this point shows the market value of Sandgate waterfront properties not that much greater than the rateable land value; on average 32 per cent greater.
“In fact one waterfront property sale, back in 2017, sold for 15 per cent less than the rateable land value, yet one block back and without bay view properties have a greater gap of 42 per cent.
“One particular [non-waterfront] property sold as high as 66 per cent greater than the rateable land value.
“The outtake here is there is plenty of money to be made on Sandgate waterfront properties.
“I do believe the margin between waterfront properties and the neighbouring streets will never be this close again.”
Flinders Parade, which runs along the foreshore of Sandgate and into Brighton, plus Eagle Crescent and Shorncliffe Parade, are the waterfront property strips in focus.
Ms McKeering says a lot of people have been buying these older houses and renovating and that at the moment there is some choice in “real cheapies” from about $900,000 to about $1.35 million.
“I know someone who bought for $1.4 million in 2017 with a $1.8 million renovation budget,” she says.
“When you see that sort of money coming into an area, it tells me people are seeing long-term capital value in this area.”
Fellow Sandgate agent Tamara Wecker of RE/MAX agrees suburb 4017’s waterfront properties are priced and selling considerably under their comparable Brisbane market values.
“When compared to Wynnum and Manly,” Ms Wecker says, “absolutely; I mean you can live in the Taj Mahal in Sandgate for about $1.5 million.”
She is seeing buyer migration from Sydney and “a little bit from Perth” because of affordability, and thinks Sandgate’s strict rules, which prohibit multi-unit developments on its waterfront, is a further drawcard.
“People tend to think of Wynnum and Manly but here you can have a premium home and lifestyle only 30 minutes from the city,” Ms Wecker says.
“To be honest, it has been a bit of a secret because we are off the highway so you have to have a reason to come here, but that is changing in the past 18 months.
“We are getting more inquiries from people, even from Brisbane, who just did not know about us.”
Mark Crew has been selling Sandgate housing since 1990 and thinks people have woken up to how great a suburb it is in the past 18 months.
The Professionals’ agent has reported strong interest from Sydney buyers “looking for a better family lifestyle”.
He estimates 25 to 30 per cent of Sandgate buyers this year have come from the neighbouring suburbs of Shorncliffe, Deagon and Brighton; people who want to upgrade but stay in “the village”.
“It is 31 minutes to the CBD and you can be walking on the waterfront with your kids after work and we’ve got excellent schools too,” Mr Crew says.
Regarding Sandgate’s waterfront property market and its value, he says three factors should be considered.
“There are few waterfront properties for sale, land is scarce and over the past 20 years there has been a lot of change to the houses themselves, a lot of renovation and/or raising older three-bedroom cottages and transforming them into often substantial five-bedroom luxury houses,” he says.
“So these houses on their waterfront blocks are, quite rightly, going to fetch more in sale prices when they do one day return to the market; and that is showing.”
Cheap Units In Brisbane Suburbs
Twelve suburbs in Brisbane have a median unit price of just under $400,000, according to Domain’s June House Price Report.
Ten out of these 12 suburbs are in the inner city, the report said.
Bowen Hills, Fortitude Valley, Albion, and Spring Hills are all within three kilometres of the Brisbane CBD. The median unit prices in these suburbs are below $400,000, the figures showed.
East Brisbane, Coorparoo, Clayfield, Nundah, Taringa, and Kedron also offer some of Brisbane’s cheapest unit values, according to the report.
Bowen Hills is the cheapest suburb to buy a unit, with prices falling 13.7% in the past 12 months, the figures showed.
Here are Brisbane’s cheapest suburbs to buy units by median price, according to Domain:
|Suburb||Median price||YoY % growth||5-year % growth|
In Greater Brisbane, the median unit price fell 8.6% over the year to June, according to the report.
The capital city’s unit prices are “sitting at 2013 levels”—down from their peak in 2015, according to Domain research analyst Eliza Owen.
However, prices are expected to bottom out this year, with the end of the downturn in the unit segment in sight, Owen said.
“Unit listings are also moderating, which should reduce downward pressure on prices,” she said.
Brisbane Prices Could Be Headed For Recovery
Brisbane prices are at their lowest level in the cycle, according to the latest national property clock from Herron Todd White (HTW).
The house values in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Ipswich, Rockhampton, and Toowoomba were at the bottom, according HTW.
Meanwhile, prices in Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville, and the Whitsundays are starting to recover, the data showed.
There was momentum for the price growth in Brisbane, given that the capital city had been “bouncing along the bottom for some time now”, HTW Brisbane managing director Gavin Hulcombe told The Courier-Mail.
“I think it will be (a) steady rise, but my suspicion is in a couple of years’ time we might look back and think it (now) probably wasn’t a bad time to buy. Some areas are likely to perform better than others,” he said.
Brisbane units are also at the bottom of the price cycle, along with Bundaberg, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, and the Whitsundays, according to HTW.
Apartment prices in Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, and Townsville are already rising, the figures showed.
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