Beulah lodges DA for Southbank project

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MALAYSIAN-backed Beulah International has formally lodged the planning application for its Southbank project.

Following 10 months of refining the winning design, Green Spine by Dutch firm UN Studio and Cox Architecture. The mixed-use precinct of 270,000 sqm will comprise 13,500 sqm of arts & culture space, residential apartments, 35,000 sqm of commercial offices; a 220-room hotel; 6,600 sqm of conference and entertainment centre; a children’s play centre; a health and wellness precinct; 30,000 sqm of retail space including the BMW Experience Centre and 7,250 sqm of public green spaces including the Future Sky Garden.

The tallest tower is aiming to be around 360 metres in height, which could become Australia’s tallest, pipping the 312.4-metre Australia 108, which is currently under construction.

Beulah bought the 6,061 sqm BMW Southbank site in 2017 for $101,088,888. It sold with a development scheme designed by Fender Katsalidis, comprising two towers with more than 800 apartments, 600 hotel rooms and 10,000 sqm of retail space.

The launch of the Southbank development comes at uncertainty times for the Melbourne apartment market, with a number of high-profile projects shelved or put on the backburner.

Recently Chinese-backed developer Woodlink sold Illoura House at 424-426 St Kilda Rd for more than $70 million after abandoning plans to redevelop the office building into an apartment/hotel project. The new owner, an offshore Asian investor plans to develop an office instead.

Currently Malaysian-backed group UEM Sunrise is looking to exit 412 St Kilda Rd for around $100 million. It bought the former police station in 2015 for $58 million and proposed to develop a luxury apartment tower designed by the famed and late Iraqi-born British architect Dame Zaha Hadid.

However, the 158-apartment Mayfair development had only sold nearly 40% of the units off-the-plan since its launch in December 2016.

And earlier this year, Victorian Planning Minister refused to grant an extension to Crown Resorts and Schiavello Group for its luxury $1.75 billion One Queensbridge project, which has failed to secure finance after gaining approval in February 2017.

According to JLL’s latest Apartment Market Snapshot, unit approvals as at May 2019 fell 62% to 3,562 over the 12 months. Apartment sales are down 22% to 3,884 over the period.

JLL noted that developers are continuing to delay or abandon projects on the back of pricing pressures and difficulty in reaching pre-sales hurdles and subsequent development financing.

But Beulah managing director Jiaheng Chan said this project is a vote of confidence in Melbourne.

“Our project is a vote of confidence in Melbourne’s economy, and it will transform Southbank. It’s our vision to improve the urban environment on City Road and create an internationally significant landmark that will be a vibrant mini metropolis for people to live, work, shop, learn, play and stay,” Jiaheng said.

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