What buyer's need to know about the newest Northbank project Seafarers: Five minutes with Riverlee's David Lee

What buyer's need to know about the newest Northbank project Seafarers: Five minutes with Riverlee's David Lee
What buyer's need to know about the newest Northbank project Seafarers: Five minutes with Riverlee's David Lee

Seafarers is one of the latest mixed-use developments heading to Melbourne's rejuvenated Northbank precinct.

The project, by the veteran developer Riverlee, will home 123 apartments in the same building as Australia's first 1 Hotel when it is completed in late 2023.

Seafarers has been designed by the revered architecture firm Fender Katsalidis in collaboration with the award-winning architecture and interior design firm Carr Design.

Urban recently sat down with Riverlee development director David Lee to talk about the mixed-use project.

JR: Who is Seafarers pitched at, and why did you choose this demographic? 
Seafarers is multi-layered, with various points of difference across the project. The project is designed for residents, guests, and the public. So, there isn’t just one, but many target audiences.  Breaking them down, each of the different aspects of the project appeal to a different demographic – from the ‘lock-up-and-leave’ ability for those constantly on the move, to the potential buyers wanting to downsize (or upsize) from their current living arrangements with the luxury hotel services on offer, to create ease of living.

The space allows for movement within the building and is planned to provide convenience for someone with a dynamic work schedule. Seafarers offers the opportunity to work late and entertain or host clients, all in the one vicinity with easy access to the CBD and airport. 

Purchasers thus far have spanned from those already living in the CBD, to downsizers and entrepreneurs. 

JR: Why did you choose this site?
We first came across the Seafarers site back in 2008 when the Victorian Government called for submissions from developers to revitalise the Northbank area. At the time, we were the owners of the World Trade Centre nearby and had just undergone a refurbishment bringing new life to the waterfront area with an expansion of retail and a public wharf. 

When submitting our plan to the Victorian Government, we had a great appreciation for the riverfront site and knew it was one of the last remaining in the Melbourne CBD. We were fortunate to be awarded the site in 2010.

JR: What was the brief for Fender Katsalidis
Understanding the history of the site was important. We wanted to create a building that was respectful whilst also incorporating a unique space for both residents and the public. Fender Katsalidis’ brief was to capture the vibrant culture of Melbourne and bring a fresh addition to the Northbank area, re-connecting the city and the Yarra.

Being a unique site, we wanted a striking architectural icon to grace the riverbanks, with a design that reflects the building’s vibrant and mixed-use nature. This needed to be mindful of the site’s origins, the heritage Goods Shed as well as the natural environment and public spaces. 

JR: What are you most looking forward to seeing when the project is finished? 

DL: Seeing the cohesive layers of Seafarers come together will be most exciting for us – park, river, wharf, heritage, hotel, residences and hospitality – particularly as it’s a project that has been many years in the making. Connecting layers of people – residents, 1 Hotel guests and the public – and heritage through space and design at Northbank is something we are looking forward to.

JR: What will be the biggest drawcard for buyers to the project? 
Seafarers will be Melbourne’s first international hotel-branded residences. Purchasers of Seafarers will be part of the luxury, sustainable hotel-branded 1 Hotel & Homes Melbourne. It is a new concept for the city, and I truly believe that it will change the landscape of luxury accommodation in Melbourne.

Residents will have exclusive access to all of the hotel services and amenities, from the convenience of their own home. 

1 Hotel & Homes provides residents with a true lock-up and go lifestyle with pantries being stocked when needed, concierge services and space being available for those who travel frequently but are looking for a low maintenance, luxury living arrangement. 

All of these services are very important to ensure Seafarers is recognised for its innovation and adaptability.

JR: Any plans for your next development?
At Riverlee we have recently debuted our next development, New Epping. Located in Melbourne’s north, New Epping will provide health, commercial and residential opportunities including the new Northern Private Hospital, a diverse range of housing options and a central green spine, with wellness at the core of our offering. 

It's an exciting development for us and one we really look forward to seeing come together over the coming years. 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.


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