Wuzhong's David Shen discusses Bowen and Queens
Wuzhong International (Australia) is making its first foray into the Australian residential property market with Bowen & Queens. Located at 2 Bowen Crescent, South Melbourne, the 19-storey residential development has been designed by Plus Architecture and comprises 214 apartments offering views over Albert Park Lake, Port Phillip Bay, the city and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Urban.com.au spoke to Director of Wuzhong International (Aust) David Yihou Shen about the Bowen & Queens development and its ambitions in the Australian market into the future.
Urban.com.au: What prompted Wuzhong to choose Melbourne as the Australian city for its first foray into the Australian market?
David Shen: Melbourne is well known globally as being the world’s most livable city and is therefore an attractive prospect for global developers. As a developer we think Melbourne is the place to be and expect the market will keep growing over the next decade or so as the population grows.
Bowen and Queens is our first apartment development in Melbourne, however we have done a boutique size project in Carrum Downs which consists of 23 lots land subdivisions and 21 townhouses.
U: And following on from that what was the appeal of South Melbourne?
DS: We love South Melbourne! We set up our Australian HQ at 1 Queens Road, Melbourne about 6 years ago; it is effectively 100 metres from our Bowen & Queens project. South Melbourne is a dynamic and very liveable suburb; it has parks, markets, restaurants and cafes everywhere.
The location is arguably in the city but without the noise of the busy CBD. Our project is off St Kilda Road but away from all the traffic, and of course residents will get the amazing views to the bay, to the park and to the Albert Lake.
U: What was Wuzhong's vision for the Bowen & Queens site and its brief to Plus Architecture?
DS: The location of Bowen & Queens was carefully selected. The site has easy access to the city, beach, and suburbs. We chose this particular site because it is surrounded by parks and in a bigger context, it fits in with the natural elements of the nearby bay too.
We briefed Plus Architecture to enhance the healthy lifestyle that this site can offer. It’s designed for ease of living, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle with all the nearby parks. The Bowen & Queens was crafted around the concept of nature – this is seen through the use of curves throughout that embrace the surrounding area.
U: There has been a lot of commentary recently around the state of the residential market in not just Melbourne but Australia as a whole. What are your thoughts on this and do you expect it to have an impact on sales in Bowen & Queens?
DS: The market is slower than the last several years, this is a fact. The market is going soft due to tightening lending regulations. The demand is still there though thanks to the growing population. Melbourne still has very high population growth. While the sale rate will be lower than what we experienced in the previous years, I don’t think it will impact on the sale prices. Good stock is sought after and popular in every climate.
U: What buyer demographic do you expect Bowen & Queens to appeal to?
DS: Local buyers and owner occupiers will be the main demographic we will be targeting. The finish of the building will be a high quality and local buyers who can attend the display suites will fully understand the quality and the craftmanship of the building.
U: Looking beyond Bowen & Queens, what are Wuzhong's intentions for future projects in Melbourne and are you also looking at opportunities in other Australian cities?
DS: We have a full pipeline built up for the next 5 years already; not just in apartments but also in land subdivisions as well as commercial projects. Our focus is in Melbourne only as we think Melbourne market is a particularly exciting market to be in within Australia.