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Regular developers start chirping to the tune of Nightingale on sustainability

A new residential development in inner Melbourne is referencing the environmental and social sustainability outcomes of its neighbours The Commons and Nightingale 1 as part of its marketing drive. Though the third prong of affordability might not be as pronounced, the apartments are claimed to outperform on environmental and community outcomes.


Breese Street

Developer Milieu has launched its 57-apartment Breese Street development in Brunswick, Melbourne, promising a sustainability and community story similar to Nightingale 1 and The Commons developments “just around the corner” with a growing community of eco-apartments, including two potential new sites in Albion Street, one bought recently for $4.65 million. 

It’s perhaps unsurprising that sustainability and community is being prioritised – Breathe Architecture, whose director Jeremy McLeod initiated the Nightingale Model, is on board, along with DKO, as architect. As such, Nightingale Housing minimum sustainability standards are being applied to the project, including an average 7.5-star NatHERS rating, no gas on site, and a commitment for the owners corporation to buy 100 per cent GreenPower. 

Other sustainability features include a 30-kilowatt rooftop solar system, salvaged timber flooring, rainwater collection for common areas and rooftop gardens, community compost and bike storage.

The developer has said its goal is to create a “genuine community”, with the development split across two buildings with no more than five apartments per floor, and common spaces including a communal laundry and rooftop garden with a beehive.

A recent survey of 430 prospective homebuyers Milieu conducted shows outperforming on sustainability and community is now a strong selling point. The top three features sought were productive gardens, pet-friendly areas and communal workspaces. Ninety-nine per cent of residents said they wanted to buy into an apartment that fostered “a sense of community” and more than 50 per cent wanted to know their neighbours by name.

Milieu melbourne I

Unsurprisingly for a development focused on amenity, all of those surveyed intend to be owner-occupiers, with 98 per cent on board with plans to source 100 per cent GreenPower. Ninety per cent also said recycled materials, solar and bike spaces were key factors in their purchase decision. 

Milieu co-director Shannon Peach said the survey showed there was a strong market for “progressive small space living”.

“From the ground up, Breese Street has been designed with community in mind,” Mr Peach said.

He also said the sustainability elements were “much more than box-ticking bolt-ons”.

We’re proud to be creating spaces that will lead the conversation around multi-residential living.”

Milieu melbourne

While the marketing references nearby Nightingale 1, The Commons and upcoming Nightingale Village – all are in what is known as the Anstey precinct – the affordability angle is more muted, at least from the purchase price point of view or, say, inclusion of affordable rental housing, which Nightingale Village has promised. This is a boutique development and the prices are consequently higher.

Asking prices range from from $465,000 to $530,000 for one-bedders range, $685,000 to $845,000 for two bedders, while three-bedders start from $1,025,000 and range up to $1,095,000. 

There’s an element of input into design, however, with buyers able to elect to forego car parking, individual laundries and airconditioning to reduce price.

A communal laundry will be available and apartments have been designed to be comfortable without airconditioning. The prices mentioned also include car parking, though close to 50 per cent of responders to the liveability survey said they would forego a space to reduce purchase price.

Operational affordability is part of the selling point, though, with the high NatHERS rating meaning reduced heating and cooling costs, and solar and wholesale power purchase meaning reduced energy prices. 

The project is due for completion in 2020, and joins what is becoming a large community of high-density eco-projects in the Anstey precinct.

Nearby a property at 215-217 Albion Street – a former ugg boot factory owned by Aesop chief executive Michael O’Keefe – was reported this week to have been bought for $4.65 million by Nightingale Housing, which could also have intentions to buy 219 Albion Street next door.

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