Fieldwork design build-to-rent-to-buy apartments in Melbourne’s Kensington

Fieldwork has designed an eight-storey apartment building in the Melbourne suburb of Kensington, three kilometres from the CBD, that will be sold under a novel build-to-rent-to-buy scheme.

The building is the first to be built under developer Assemble’s “Assemble Model,” a “new, more accessible” model for property development that the company describes as “patient.”

393 Macaulay Road, Kensington by Fieldwork.

393 Macaulay Road, Kensington by Fieldwork.

Image: Assemble

Prospective homeowners will first secure a five-year lease on one of the 73 apartments in the complex, with rent and annual 2.5-percent increases agreed to up front. At the end of the five-year period, tenants will have the option to purchase the property at a price agreed to when the initial lease is signed.

Annual returns for capital investors are “capped at roughly half that of the ‘off-the-plan approach,” according to a release from the developer.

Quino Holland, Fieldwork director, said, “What excites me in particular about the Assemble Model is a greater alignment of interest between the developer and resident compared to the off-the-plan model.

“We have to deliver high-quality buildings that age gracefully and foster a genuine community. Design will be at the forefront of the Assemble Model to create homes that are functional and beautiful and that we’d genuinely want to live in ourselves.”

393 Macaulay Road, Kensington by Fieldwork.

393 Macaulay Road, Kensington by Fieldwork.

Image: Assemble

The complex will feature a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments centred around a landscaped, open-air walkway that will bring ventilation and natural light into the building. Community spaces will occupy parts of the top and ground floors, including a community entertaining space and a workshop for messy jobs.

The design retains the facade of the current art deco building on the site, designed by Harry A. Norris.

Novel features planned for the building are bulk-buying initiatives to lower the cost of certain utilities and groceries and a not-for-profit financial coaching service offered to residents during the rental and construction periods.

Holland said that, as someone who had designed a number of apartment buildings over the years, he had been “frustrated that a lot of my team members can’t afford to buy into the projects they’re working on.”

“I’m excited that the Assemble Model will provide them with the opportunity to do so in a supported and flexible way.”

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