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GURNER™ partners with Smorgon family to develop 1450sqm Hawksburn site

Luxury property developer, GURNER™ has acquired the development rights to a substantial 1450sqm site at 162 - 164 Williams Road, Prahran, located within the iconic Hawksburn Village precinct.

The developer has entered into a joint venture agreement with the prominent Escor Group - the Jack and Robert Smorgon Family office - to develop the site, which the family acquired over the past 20 years, into approximately 40-45 luxury apartments.

The site, which includes GURNER™’s and Escor Group’s current office premises as well as a number of other buildings, represents one of the largest development opportunities in the Hawksburn Village precinct and one that cannot be replicated in terms of size or prominence.

Once complete the super high-end development will add approximately $60m to GURNER™’s portfolio and deliver between 40-45 apartments and commercial at ground level, as well as a new, larger office space for both the expanding GURNER™ team and the Escor Group.

Fresh from the overwhelming success of what has been GURNER™’s most luxurious development to-date, 74 Eastern Road in South Melbourne, where all six penthouses totaling almost $11m sold in under and hour, GURNER™ founder and director Tim Gurner said this new project would seek to push the boundaries even further in terms of luxury high-end design.

“ We have tested the market with 74 Eastern Road in terms of the demand for ultimate luxury apartment living and proven that discerning owner occupiers are now actively seeking out - and willing the pay the price for – absolute high end apartments, so we will now look to step it up again with this new Hawksburn Village site.

“ The success of our recent luxury projects across Australia has definitely given us the confidence to push the boundaries in this luxury end of the market, so while the demand is there we are keen to deliver exactly what the market desires in the form of large, luxury, penthouse-style apartments.

“ As our brand strengthens in the market we are looking to push the boundaries further each time to ensure we are constantly redefining what’s possible in luxury living,” Gurner said.

“ We have an incredible opportunity here to target what is going to be one of Australia’s largest markets moving forward; as the ‘baby boomer’ generation transitions into low maintenance living, they are seeking high-end living opportunities in areas they feel comfortable in, that will allow them to stay close to shops, transport, and most importantly friends and family.

“ This means locations like Hawksburn Village which are at the intersection of Toorak, South Yarra and Prahran are become incredibly appealing as the baby boomer generation sell up the family home for extremely high price points, and want to cash in with either a beachside or country home, as well as an easy maintenance Melbourne base.

“ They still want the internal space and luxury of a larger home, but without the inconvenience of gardens and maintenance,” Gurner said.

On the partnership with Escor Group, Gurner said he was excited to collaborate with the Smorgons to deliver what both parties know will be one of Melbourne’s most premium developments.

“ When entering into joint ventures it is critical that both parties share the same vision; we have been on the same page since day one and I know together we will create something very special.

“ I have a huge amount of respect for the Smorgon Family dynasty and what they have achieved through their property, investment and philanthropy interests over many generations, so I couldn’t be happier to announce what is hopefully the first of many successful joint ventures together.

“ This site is absolutely unprecedented in terms of size and location; development opportunities as large and as prominent as this in such a prime location in the tightly-held Hawksburn Village just simply don’t exist anymore.

“ We feel incredibly lucky to be a part of a development site that is so important and we will ensure that we produce an iconic design that is very sympathetic to the local context and delivers a new benchmark for design in the area.

“ We want to ensure we deliver a design that not only reflects our vision for ultimate luxury but is also appropriate for the site so we feel a competitive design pitch means we can select the very best design to give this iconic location a truly landmark building,” he said.

Michael Meehan, Escor Group’s Director of Finance and Investment said:

“ The Family is delighted to have found a partner to assist them to bring their long-term vision to reality. We assembled the large site over the past 20 years via a series of strategic acquisitions. The precinct has gone from strength to strength since the mid 1990’s when we first arrived in the Village and we have been patiently waiting to produce something special for the area that future generations of the family could be truly proud of.”

“ We were planning on developing the site ourselves however, having reviewed the delivery capabilities of Tim and his team, we determined that the optimum outcome would be achieved by joining forces.”

GURNER™ has invited four internationally-renowned architect firms to submit concept designs to deliver its vision for the iconic site, with the winning firm expected to be announced in the coming months.

The project is then expected to be submitted to planning not long after with GURNER™ targeting the end of 2016 to launch the development to the market.


162 Williams Road, Prahran
Victoria 3181