What buyers need to know about 4 Ballarat St, Brunswick apartments: Urban chats with developer Assemble

Urban recently spoke with Assemble’s director of marketing and relationships, Rebecca Shackleton, to discuss the rent-with-the-option-to-buy development.
What buyers need to know about 4 Ballarat St, Brunswick apartments: Urban chats with developer Assemble
4 Ballarat St., Brunswick. Image supplied
Max KwokOctober 25, 2021

The 4 Ballarat St., Brunswick apartment development, is one of the most in-demand projects on Urban for first home buyers, namely down to its location and affordability.

Located in the heart of Brunswick, the project team at Assemble operate on a rent-with-the-option-to-buy model, which has made this development particularly popular.

Designed by Fieldwork Architects and with landscaping by Rush Wright, 4 Ballarat St. places an emphasis on providing a seamless transition to the natural environment, with each apartment running on 100 per cent renewable energy.

We recently spoke with Asse​mble’s director of marketing and relationships, Rebecca Shackleton, to discuss the rent-with-the-option-to-buy development.

MK: How many multi-residential projects has Ass​emble completed within Victoria under their Assemble Futures scheme?

RS: The first project set to be delivered under Assem​ble Futures’ rent-with-the-option-to-buy scheme is 393 Macaulay Rd in Kensington. Residents are due to move in early 2022.

Other Assemb​le Futures projects include 15 Thompson St in Kensington and 4 Ballarat St. in Brunswick, with completion in 2023.

MK: What are the advantages of the rent-with-the-option-to-buy model at 4 Ballarat St. for first home buyers?

RS: Assemble​ Futures supports first home buyers into homeownership by enabling them to move in and rent their apartment for five years while saving for a deposit to buy it.

It protects them from shifts in the property market as they lock in the future purchase price of their home, and leases are renewed every 12 months, so if life takes them elsewhere, they have the flexibility to leave at the end of the lease.

To secure an apartment, buyers sign the contract of sale, which locks in the future purchase price of their home, giving them the option, but not the obligation to purchase at the end of the five-year lease.

From the moment they sign, we will support them on their savings journey with our free (opt-in) financial coaching program. When they move in, they’ll also have access to additional savings support through our bulk buying partnerships, aimed at reducing the cost of living across household goods, services and utilities by at least 20 per cent.

They will also get the added opportunity of experiencing their apartment, community, and neighbourhood before purchasing their home.

MK: What was the design brief for the architectural team at Fieldwork?  

RS: Assemble partnered with Fieldwork Architects to bring 4 Ballarat St. to life. Previously a factory designed by Melbourne architects AK Lines, McFarlane and Marshall, there is a strong history of textile manufacturing for brands, such as Hard Yakka Overalls company, Fletcher Jones, and more recently Perucci Shirts.

Critical to the design brief, was the care needed in preserving the original building fabric and ensuring the new building was complementary to its surroundings. 4 Ballarat St. picks up on the distinctive qualities of Victorian Edwardian, post-war and industrial buildings, which characterise the diverse nature of the suburb.

Community is at the forefront of our building designs, with the relationship between apartments and the open-air walkways designed to encourage connection. 

MK: What spoke to you about the 4 Ballarat St. site in particular when planning the development?

RS: 4 Ballarat St. is a vibrant location off Sydney Road. When it comes to Melbourne’s renowned culinary areas, Sydney Road is high on the list with foodie icons like Tiba’s, Mediterranean Wholesalers and the famous, low-cost A1 Bakery.

The site is within walking distance of great outdoor and recreational areas, including Clifton Park, Gilpin Reserve, A G Gillion Oval and Brunswick Baths. It is also well connected, with a range of public transport options servicing Sydney Road, residents are connected to surrounding suburbs, and can easily access the Melbourne CBD.

MK: Where did you take your inspiration from?

RS: The design of the building has been inspired by the character, history, and predominant terracotta hues of the Brunswick neighbourhood.

Apartments are accented with warm colours and no-fuss design details such as terracotta tiles, hard-wearing benchtops, rich terracotta-coloured kitchen joinery, and chrome finishes.

MK: What role did environmental design consultants Atelier Ten play in the project design and delivery? 

RS: We collaborated with Atelier Ten to ensure best practice waste and sustainability methodologies are in place, and planet-friendly solutions are embedded throughout the building, reducing our environmental impact, and enhancing the quality of life for our residents. 

We follow a clear set of design principles to ensure all apartments offer natural light, cross-flow ventilation and connection to landscaping and open space. 

MK: 4 Ballarat St. boasts a number of communal amenities. What is the benefit of this?

RS: 4 Ballarat St. has been designed to bring people together offering residents an enriched and connected life beyond their four walls. Shared spaces provide meaningful, convenient and functional areas to work, eat and hang out.

On level eight, you’ll find a shared rooftop garden that has impressive views of the Melbourne skyline. A space to use as and when you like, it features several social zones to come together, entertain guests or host a barbeque.

The rooftop is also a space for pets to roam free in the designated dog park, while keen gardeners will also have a beautiful green zone and planting space. There is a shared clothesline for drying and a communal laundry, each apartment will have a laundry space, however, residents can choose not to have their own machine. 

Our multi-purpose room is perfect for any type of event, yoga class, kids’ birthday party or if you have invited one too many dinner guests, it can be easily booked through the Assemble App. 

On the ground floor, we have a multi-purpose workshop for the odd jobs where you’d prefer not to mess up your apartment. It is complete with workbenches, shared tools, and wash sink, it’s the place to get things done, and lean on your neighbour for a helping hand.

The lending library is made to house all the little things you can’t live without, but rarely use. Like a step ladder, a slow-cooker, or tools your need to fix your bike. It’s about saving residents’ money through the power of sharing.

The parcel room and cool storage is a convenient and secure place for delivery services to leave your online purchases. If you’re thinking about ordering groceries and drinks, our cool storage space keeps them fresh until you get home. 

MK: Why did you choose Brunswick? Does this area offer strong investment opportunities for first home buyers?

RS: The median house price in Brunswick rose by 5.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2021 alone to $1.368 million, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. We are witnessing the strongest growth in property values in our history, rising at their fastest rate in almost two decades.

The residents of 4 Ballarat St. will lock in their future purchase price today which means they will be protected from shifts in the market if they decide to purchase at the end of the five-year lease. If the housing prices in Brunswick continue to rise as they have been, their home will appreciate with the market and any equity gained over the five years will be theirs to benefit from.   

What buyers need to know about 4 Ballarat St, Brunswick apartments: Urban chats with developer Assemble
Brunswick. Image: Lauren Bamford

MK: Where have buyers come from, and who is the development appealing to?

RS: 67 per cent of our residents have either come from Brunswick or other northern suburbs highlighting to us what a desirable area Brunswick is, with a great community.

Most of our residents are single, with around 20 per cent families and 20 per cent couples. It has been lovely to see so many residents referring their friends or housemates to the project, we have no doubt that 4 Ballarat St. will be a fantastic community. 

Max Kwok

Max Kwok is a staff contributor at urban.com.au. Based in Sydney, Max has previously worked at Property Observer where he specialised in content creation and editorial research.

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