23 April 2015
GURNER™ launches $60m project in heritage Foy and Gibson precinct
Melbourne-based property developer, GURNER™ has announced the impending launch of its third new apartment project in as many months, this time a New York loft-inspired development featuring a historic 1880s façade in the heart of Collingwood’s historic Foy and Gibson precinct.
Located in Cambridge Street and designed by long-time GURNER™ collaborator, Elenberg Fraser, ‘107 Cambridge St’ will include 90 luxury loft-style apartments over six levels, inspired by the best of New York and London converted warehouse living.
One of the last developable sites within the historic Foy and Gibson precinct – the City of Yarra’s most historically significant precinct which houses a series of 19th Century industrial warehouses and factories – 107 Cambridge effortlessly integrates with its heritage façade at ground level, melding into a sleek architectural form above.
The 2000sqm 107 Cambridge St site is set behind the stunning Foy and Gibson red brick façade, with Elenberg Fraser creating a modern architectural form to quietly stand behind, rather than compete with, the heritage façade at ground level as the true hero of the building.
In its heyday, Foy and Gibson was a pioneering retail empire in Melbourne which produced a host of leather, furniture, clothing and hardware goods and by the turn of the century had built the largest department store in the southern hemisphere as well as occupying a string of spinning and woolen mills, warehouses and apparel factories all within a two mile radius.
While the company eventually went into liquidation in 1968 the Foy and Gibson name has left a lasting mark on Collingwood’s architectural DNA, with many now heritage-protected façades, including GURNER’s new 107 Cambridge St project, still baring its name.
The ground floor also contains over 600sqm of retail, which Tim Gurner will be retaining and creating what he describes as a “world class café and restaurant precinct celebrating Collingwood’s love of the arts, culture and food.”
This is the developer’s thirteenth project within a two kilometre radius of the site, with GURNER™ founder and director, Tim Gurner first identifying the suburb as a key area for investment growth some half a decade ago.
“ We have liked Collingwood as a suburb for some time now. Our acquisition strategy is simple – we only consider sites within a one to two kilometre radius of the CBD and they must have a thriving café and restaurant culture, which then attracts our ideal demographic of renters and owner occupiers between 25-40 years of age.
“ Collingwood ticks all the boxes for us which is why we have invested so heavily in this area over the past five years, before many even considered Collingwood as a growing market for apartments.
“ Collingwood is one of Melbourne’s fastest growing suburbs; over the last five years alone the median unit price has increased by almost 35 percent, while vacancy rates are staggeringly low at just 0.9 percent*.
“ This is substantially lower than vacancy rates in the CBD which currently sit at 5.6 percent**.
“ Research also currently indicates that typical rental yields are around 5.9 percent which is great news for our clients,” he said.
Gurner said he had always held an affinity for New York’s luxury loft-style living, particularly in the meat packing district which has recently undergone a period of significant gentrification to now boast some of New York’s most expensive and coveted heritage loft apartments.
“ I have always been fascinated by New York and in particular the meat packing district; I love the way these derelict factories and warehouses have been effortlessly converted into these incredible luxury apartments.
“ I had wanted to recreate a similar feeling in one of our projects back home for quite some time but it wasn’t until we purchased the heritage Cambridge Street site that I felt we had the opportunity to create something truly special that will stand on par with some of the best conversions in the world.
“ It will be absolutely phenomenal, it’s one of the most exciting projects I believe we’ve ever brought to market in Melbourne,” he said.
GURNER™ has steamrolled into 2015 with a number of sell-out projects including ‘Ikebana’ in West Melbourne which sold out in under six weeks, and ‘FV’ in Brisbane which has sold all 651 apartments in Stage One and Two, spurring the developer to fast track the release of the final building, ‘No.1’ which is set to launch to the market in the coming weeks.
107 Cambridge St features 90 apartments and retail at ground floor, with 45 one-bedroom and 44 two-bedroom apartments along with 1 three-bedroom penthouse. Apartments range from 53sqm to 141sqm and start from $385,000.