Melbourne's Eq. Tower set to be caught in Airbnb crackdown

Melbourne's Eq. Tower set to be caught in Airbnb crackdown
Melbourne's Eq. Tower set to be caught in Airbnb crackdown

Airbnb is a priority issue on the new Melbourne Lord Mayor's agenda, although Sally Capp concedes it is a State Government task. 

She told 3MMM's Hot Breakfast today that Airbnb apartments were "putting a huge impost on residents in the same building."

She noted a concentration in several locations especially around the Melbourne CBD in popular tourist precincts.

"We need to balance that with residents interests," she said.

"It is actually a state legislation issue.

"There's a lot security issues, damage and noise issues.... general interruption and wear and tear on the building, and a lot of uncertainty around safety.

"At the moment we don't see to have the balance right between the responsibility of owners of those Airbnb and the residents who end up wearing it."

Breakfast broadcaster Eddie McGuire suggested some Melbourne apartment buildings were basically becoming de facto hotels, except without the services of a hotel.

"It is not a level playing field because the hotels are complying with all the regulations, paying their staff and safety," Capp noted.

"We want to keep welcoming people to visit our city but this is about wanting to get the balance right," she said. 

No specifics were mentioned, but there is growing unrest about the Airbnb hotel style operations in the Eq. Tower

Set at 127-141 A'Beckett Street, the high rise building was completed since May 2017, with a high student residency and more recently Expedia, Booking.com and Airbnb clients.

But many guests have complain there's no reception, no 24/7 service or assistance. 

"Was weird to collect the keys from a man at a corner store," one guest reviewed in the early days of its operation.

"This is not a hotel," another said adding: "Rooms are basically Airbnb on a commercial scale. Without a reception, you can either pick up your keys at a local 711 or they will clip them outside for lock box collection."

"We had to pick up our keys at a convenience store a block away," another recent guest confirmed.

"No reception or concierge," another guest advised.

" We had to collect the room keys at a convenience store located very inconveniently at a far end corner," one advised.

"There is no reception .... the phone number we had to ring was in China so no reply.

"Had to wait outside complex for 45 minutes until someone in Australia contacted us after 6 phone calls and contact with bookings.com," a guest complained.

Keys are often left in a secure box on the street for collection.

The 2016 Victorian Owners Corporation Amendment Bill which seeks to regulate short term accomodation in residential apartment blocks is still before Victoria's Upper House.

Global contractor Multiplex completed its construction of ICD Property’s high-rise in May 2017.

Designed by Elenberg Fraser, Eq Tower comprises a total of 633 apartments in one, two and three bedroom configurations.

The 63-level complex offers residential facilities including a 25 metre outdoor swimming pool and BBQ area, indoor gym, sauna, spa, private dining rooms, karaoke suites, cinema, games room and lounges.

Graham Cottam, regional managing director of Brookfield Multiplex Victoria, noted they faced construction challenges including the building changing shape between levels 24 and 36, harsh weather conditions, and building damper tanks on the roof to counterbalance building sway.

Multiplex used techniques such as the installation of a façade curtain wall from behind protection screens to improve site safety and the installation of a centralised VRV air conditioning system, enabling all condenser units to be removed from balconies.

Eq. Tower’s design also includes a range of ESD features such as photovoltaic solar panels, rainwater harvesting, water efficient fixtures and appliances and double glazing throughout.

It was marketed as having karaoke facilities and a mahjong, poker and billiards room.

Michael Mai, managing director of ICD Property, said that the tower would have a strong sense of community in integrated vertical living.

Elenberg Fraser has succeeded in bringing this vision to life and so we present Eq. Tower as the future of Melbourne living where residents can enjoy just as many experiences within their own apartment building as outside of it,” he said.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Melbourne Airbnb

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