A peculiar thing happened on the way to Bacchus Marsh... in 2008 mind you. Heading west for one reason or another, I noticed a tower crane on the horizon in Caroline Springs.
Relatively new Caroline Springs, tower crane, high-density development on the forsaken fringes of Melbourne? Hickory at the time were constructing a six level serviced apartment complex (now Quest branded) in the upstart western locale. For a suburb 25 kilometres from the big smoke, in an area considered beyond the borders of civilisation by many urbanists, this was confounding.
More confounding has been the restrained yet constant thrust in apartment living post-2008 surrounding Lake Caroline, the suburb's principal activity area. What can this be attributed to given there are no public transport options save for the odd bus, solid retail offerings yet measly entertainment options. Let's not forget comparable house & land packages within close proximity as well.
Could it be a shift in individual living preferences? It seems that like so many middle and outer suburbs in Melbourne - even Caroline Springs - have fallen for a fundamental cultural acceptance of high-density living. Apartment dwellers are a minority in Caroline Springs, but a growing minority.
Added to the aforementioned Quest serviced apartment complex is the Mercure Hotel Caroline Springs and a gaggle of small to medium-rise apartment buildings, the most noteworthy of which are:
Aqua Lakeside nearing completion whilst Woodward Way is freshly completed. Combined 156 apartments.
Conceived by Metaxas Architects, Caravelle Lane (left) holds a planning permit while The Esplanade was completed during 2013. Combined 119 apartments.
While apartment development increases, news broke last week that Caroline Springs will be serviced by a new railway station located in neighbouring Ravenhall. With at-grade parking for 350 spaces, my only request is that another tower crane be used to create a community health hub/multi-level car park similar to the ultra impressive Euneva Complex in Glen Waverley.
Too much too soon? Perhaps, but Caroline Springs has in part shifted toward a more robust urban environment by way of an increased penchant for high-density living. With plentiful brownfield sites around Lake Caroline, Caroline Springs will remain an interesting study as to how deeply high-density living can penetrate typical detached living, fringe Melbourne suburbs.