Gamuda Berhad through its local arm Gamuda Land has recently settled its first flagship Australian development at 661 Chapel St, South Yarra.
661 Chapel St represents the group’s first foray into the Australian market and the Bird de le Coeur designed development comprises 116 apartments across 30 levels with views tht extend over the heritage-listed Melbourne High School, the Yarra River and beyond to the Melbourne CBD skyline.
Believing in the quality of the project with its location, never to be built out views and strong design credentials, Gamuda Land bullishly began construction in April 2016 prior to launching the project, despite the usual 60% pre-sales required by Australian banks to commence construction.
The penthouse for 661 Chapel St is expected to fetch a record $22m and is being sold as a shell with David Hick’s engaged to design the fit-out, so the purchaser can completely customise the residence.
The penthouse is a 792 sqm residence over 3 levels and the design currently includes:
Urban Melbourne spoke to Gamuda Land CEO Ngan Chee Meng prior to the official launch party to discuss 661 Chapel St, the penthouse and the companies ambitions for further development opportunities in Melbourne.
Urban Melbourne: What was the appeal of Melbourne to Gamuda Land and more specifically South Yarra as a suburb?
Ngan Chee Meng: We see Australia, particularly Melbourne as a highly sought-after destination given its long-standing reputation as the world’s most liveable city, quality education and economic stability.
Location is key in our selection for development. We have found South Yarra to be one of the suburbs that could provide a fulfilling lifestyle given its convenience to our residents, with its close proximity to the CBD, public transport network, surrounding areas of greenery such as Royal Botanical Garden, Yarra river; artisanal cafes, boutiques and restaurants all within walking distance.
South Yarra also has a long-standing reputation as a highly sought after suburb, being in the inner east pocket of Melbourne and surrounded by other reputable suburbs such as Toorak.
UM: 661 Chapel St has a strong theme of artwork embedded in the design of its spaces from the moment you arrive, with Gamuda working closely with Andy Dinan of Mars Gallery. What was it like working with Andy Dinan?
NCM: We selected Andy and her gallery to curate the artwork in 661 Chapel St given her experience and background in public spaces. We had also wanted a selection of artwork that showcases works from emerging Australian artists that we believe will be a value add and worthy investment for the development.
We worked hand in hand with Andy and her team, as well as Bird de la Coeur, the project architect in curating the artwork selection in 661. It was a carefully thought out process and it was a pleasure working with them, we are very pleased with the outcome.
UM: With the majority of 661 Chapel St selling locally and to owner-occupiers, what is the expectation for the sale of the penthouse?
NCM: With the sheer scale of the penthouse, we anticipate it will likely attract an owner-occupier, who may have business interests in Melbourne given its inner urban location, or use the penthouse as a secondary or additional residence for their interests/family use.
UM: David Hick's will be on hand to customise the design of the penthouse which is currently being sold as a shell. What was the process for selecting David and what factors influenced your decision for selecting him?
NCM: We wanted David to design this penthouse as a ‘one-off’, one-of-a-kind penthouse for 661 Chapel St. While he is a local Melburnian, David’s vast international experience is also a key factor in our selection. We felt David understood what a
penthouse of this calibre could look like for not just the local market, but also those from overseas, whether it is in Asia, Europe or America given his experience, diverse yet distinctive style.
UM: The views back towards the CBD over Melbourne High are unlikely to ever be built out? Do you see this as a major selling point of the development?
NCM: Definitely. Being in this pocket of South Yarra and Melbourne itself, not being built out is a rare luxury. There are not many developments that can offer never to be built out views and not have the residents look into the next building/apartment in their surrounds from the apartment. This has been one of our strongest selling points.
UM: Gamuda Land has already expressed a desire to develop further projects in Melbourne. Is a return to South Yarra on the cards or is Gamuda looking all over Melbourne for opportunities?
NCM: Being our maiden project in Australia, we wanted to build on our experience here. 661 Chapel St is a considerably smaller project for us when we compare it to what we have in our portfolio, but it is a good stepping-stone for us and allowed us to meet the market’s needs.
Moving forward, we will definitely continue to look for opportunities in Melbourne, and we are in the enviable position to handpick strategic landbanks with great potential to be transformed into value creating assets.