By Marika Dobbin
8th January 2013
With St Kilda’s Luna Park and historic Palais theatre lit up in the foreground and Port Phillip Bay sparkling in the background, the private rooftop at 30 The Esplanade looks like a set from noughties TV show Secret Life of Us.
In fact, scenes for the popular series were filmed a few doors down, but it is doubtful whether those tortured 20-somethings ever had it so good.
This two bedroom apartment, for sale at $2.225 million, is set up to party, with a full outdoor kitchen and BBQ, rooftop shower and toilet.
Like Melbourne’s iconic laneway culture, the rooftop lifestyle is a developing art that appeals to those with imagination.
There are rooftop beehives that produce honey, green houses for growing food, swimming pools made of glass, cinemas, trendy bars and now a performance and pop-up space, Tonic House Rooftop near Flinders Street, station that opened last month.
In this city, if it is elevated, it is cool.
And as with laneways, property developers are keen to be on trend, with a wave of apartment projects that are taking the high-life to the next level.
Central South Yarra by Little Projects is just one proposed development where penthouses have been relegated downstairs in favour of a rooftop resort for occupants, this one 30 storeys up.
Future residents may host a cocktail party in the garden terrace, a dinner in the shared rooftop kitchen and dining room, watch television in a communal lounge, or swim in the heated pool.
There is also a “wellbeing zone” with fitness equipment that has views to the Dandenong Ranges.
Managing director of Little Property Group, Michael Fox, says a vibrant rooftop makes apartment living even more pleasurable because residents can still have a piece of the outdoors but without doing maintenance.
“Essentially, it’s an extension of their apartment,” he says. “Residents are happy to live in smaller spaces but have other facilities at their fingertips so they can entertain their guests.”
Another Little Property Group project called Ilk in South Yarra is under construction and, when finished this year, will have a rooftop garden with outdoor cinema and alfresco kitchen facilities.
The nearby Yarra House, also in South Yarra, by developer Michael L Yates is planned to have a 15-metre rooftop lap pool, gym and landscaped garden on level 26.
They will have views of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the grounds of Melbourne High School and the city skyline.
Hengyi Australia’s proposed tower at 199 William Street is another going with the trend. It has a swimming pool on level 23, as well as wintergardens, gym and shared lounge and library.
Meanwhile, in Albert Park a mid-rise development of four storeys will have a lap pool overlooking Port Phillip Bay on its roof.
With construction to start soon, one-bedroom apartments have been sold from $950,000 and two-bedroom apartments from $1.4 million.