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The Weekly Review Melbourne Times

The Weekly Review Melbourne Times
By Liz McLachlan
21 September 2013

The new $100-million precinct rising from Brunswick East’s former Tip Top bakery site is transforming the once-derelict industrial zone into a new community of 411 apartments and townhouses and a 90-place child-care centre, with completion staged during 2014.

Located close to Lygon Street cafés, trams and Merri Creek walking trails, the apartments have proved to be hot property, with three quarters already sold.

The 1.25-hectare site just off Lygon Street, between Edwards and Weston streets, was originally developed in the 1940s. It includes heritage art-deco buildings by architect Harry Norris, whose work included David Jones’ Bourke Street building and Block Court, home of Block Arcade. The project is being developed by Little Projects, a private property business that specialises in inner-city mixed-use development.

Leading Melbourne architects RotheLowman designed the master-planned community with six distinct buildings strategically positioned for optimal accessibility. An art-deco façade with strong multicoloured brickwork was retained, along with the original art-deco stables, with both integrated into the new precinct’s contemporary architecture. Extensive landscaping by Oculus will integrate public areas with spaces exclusive to residents, including racks for more than 250 bicycles.

RotheLowman took design inspiration from baking, creating organic, curvaceous and interconnected forms. Named to honour the site’s history, the six buildings are called Grain, Silo, Malt, Rye, Seeds and the Stables. The design of Grain has been derived from wheat’s interlocking form, with merging balconies and privacy screens. The child-care centre forms the top level of the Seeds building and has a sweeping, structural roof and classrooms with outdoor play areas.

The new Stables building will become the entry to the precinct’s East Lane, with the heritage stables retained. The building will have home offices and apartments. A second heritage building, Rye, will have light-filled one- and two-bedroom apartments and double-storey townhouses. Malt will have eight yet-to-be-released $1 million-plus townhouses, while the central seven-storey Silo building has been oriented to capture city views.

Little Projects managing director Michael Fox says the two-bedroom apartments represent extraordinary value, with two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments of 68 to 73 square metres, with large balconies of up to 25 square metres, selling for less than $600,000.

“In the adjoining suburbs of North Carlton and Fitzroy you’d be paying $650,000 to $700,000 for these apartments,” Fox says. “Brunswick East offers a far better price point. You are 50 metres from the tram stop, and under four kilometres from the city.” All apartments are one or two bedrooms, with some two-bedroom layouts offering two bathrooms. Limited one-bedroom apartments remain from $335,000-$380,000 and range in size internally from 39-42 square metres. Two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments are available from $499,000-$599,000 and range from 58-73 square metres, while two-bathroom layouts range from 70-76 square metres internally, and are priced from $549,000-$649,000. Private balconies are sized from 2-46 square metres.

Seeds and Silo apartment interiors will have timber flooring in living areas, with carpeted bedrooms and tiling in wet areas. Stables will have carpet in all living areas and bedrooms. In kitchens, the stone benchtops will have mirrored glass splashbacks with Smeg cooktops, underbench ovens, rangehoods and dishwashers or dishdrawers. There’s reverse-cycle air-conditioning in living areas. Bathrooms will have walk-in showers with framed glass screens.

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