Wyndham welcoming at The William in Hengyi Australia's first venture

Wyndham welcoming at The William in Hengyi Australia's first venture
Wyndham welcoming at The William in Hengyi Australia's first venture

Hengyi Australia, the mainland Chinese developer which is developing The William, has signed a significant deal with The Wyndham Hotel Group, the world's largest hotel chain.

The Wyndham Hotel Group has bought 87 apartments at The William, which it will manage as serviced apartments.

The William, which is situated at 199 William Street opposite the Supreme Court, is a 23-level, architecturally designed, 7-star rated building.

Offering a range of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, The William will also offer serviced apartment accommodation on four of its 23 levels.

The Wyndham Hotel Group is the world’s largest hotel enterprise with 609,600 rooms in 66 countries and owns 15 hotel brands.

Hengyi director Jeff Wang said The William was inspired by glamorous, hotel-style city living. Its future residents will enjoy a 24-hour concierge service as well as luxury amenities such as a rooftop swimming pool and barbecue area, gymnasium, library and theatre.

“Being a residential development among commercial and office space, The William will change the culture and the landscape,” Min Wang, chairwoman of Hengyi said of the project.

“We are certain that the inclusion of Wyndham hotels will be a dynamic new demographic to the northwest of Melbourne’s CBD.”

The William development is well under way by Built Construction, and is expected to be completed by August 2014.

The William apartments are set within the conversion of the former Telstra building, which became vacant in 1994 and was infamously known as a “ghost building”.

Min Wang saw the potential it offered and scooped it up for $45 million in early 2011.

Wang chose property as her first venture into the Australian market.

“It was a risk, but it has paid off,” says Wang, who has sold more than 75% of the 480 apartments spread over its two towers.

“By redeveloping this iconic Melbourne building into a contemporary classic for inner-city residents, we are taking a very sustainable and cost-effective approach,” says Hengyi’s Danielle Ashworth.

“Being a residential development among commercial and office space, The William will change the culture, it will change the landscape,” says Wang.

One-bedroom apartments range in size from 45 square metres to 55 square metres and range from $359,000 to $470,000.

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Two-bedroom apartments range from 58 square metres to 75 square metres and cost between $405,000 and $620,000.

Three-bedroom apartments range up to 80 square metres and start from $750,000.

The project was launched exclusively to Singapore investors several months ago.

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The developers also offer offshore buyers a rental guarantee, and the developer will pay for any legal costs.

 


As some Australian developers struggle to secure finance to commence projects and are often reliant on locking in adequate pre-sales before banks will lend any money to them, Asian developers are increasingly looking to the Australian market.

“The Australian property market is more mature than China’s, its laws are clearer, and business dealings are simple and direct,” says Wang.

“I have travelled a lot and seen a lot of other cities, but there was something more relaxed about Melbourne, and I felt so easily connected to it.”

It is no surprise that Wang chose Melbourne, after it was touted the world’s most livable city.

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The developers of The William list three reasons why they chose to invest in Melbourne.

Firstly, Melbourne is the fastest-growing city in Australia. This population growth, especially in the CBD, is driven by the growth in overseas migration and international students.

The population of the Melbourne CBD has grown over the past five years at a rate of 13.9% per annum.

This population growth will mean a significant and growing shortage in dwellings, and with a vacancy rate of 2.4%, rents are growing faster than inflation, which is good news for investors.

Golden Hills property group acts as the middleman for offshore investors and local investors for The William.

A spokesperson from Golden Hills told Property Observer that Asian buyers look to Melbourne for investment properties as it has a strong offering of universities.

Many Asian buyers have the mindset that it is worthwhile to invest in a property where their children can live while they attend Australian university for the duration of their degrees. The investment property also acts as a home away from home for the investor.

Golden Hills says that inner-city localities throughout Asia are viewed as better assets than middle-ring or outer suburbs, and therefore the same logic applies in Melbourne.

Some local market watchers have described the amount of Asian investment in Australian CBDs as a “frenzy”.

Associate professor in environment and planning at RMIT Michael Buxton told The Age recently that foreign developers were participating in a frenzy that threatened the viability of Melbourne’s apartment market.

He suggested a one-bedroom apartment of just 55 square metres would be common in overseas cities like Hong Kong, but new for Melbourne.

This view was rejected by Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, who said Buxton was targeting these developers based on their ethnicity.

The old Telstra building was constructed in 1966 for the Postmaster-General’s Department, and in 1975 Telecom Australia – later Telstra – became the owner.

Telstra remained the main tenant until moving out in 1994 to an office complex on Exhibition and Lonsdale streets.

The empty shell was bought by Singaporean billionaire Tay Tee Peng for $12 million, who then spent a further $10 million to refurbish it but struggled to attract successful tenants.

The William is designed by Bruce Henderson Architects, with interior designs by Carr Design Group.

For more on the allure of Australian property to Asian buyers, download our free eBook. The eBook is also available for free download in Chinese.

For great tips on buying off the plan, download Property Observer’s free ebook – 14 tips for buying off the plan: The 2013 guide for investors and owner-occupiers.

 

 

 

Nicola Trotman

Nicola Trotman

With a penchant for the written word, Nicola has built a career doing just this – now Creative Director at thriving Melbourne-based PR agency, Greenpoint Media.

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