Frasers Property Australia: Award-winning, exceptional living
This Australand business profile has been made possible by the generous support of:
As one of Australia’s leading developers, Australand Property Group (now Frasers Property Australia) are focused on developing a portfolio of projects in strategic locations capable of attracting a broad target market, whilst offering a consistent supply and diversity of residential living options. The company seeks to ensure customers have a sense of comfort about buying into a quality environment and peace of mind about a long-term commitment to place creation.
Australand’s activities span across Australia, including the development of residential land, housing and departments, as well as work on commercial and industrial properties and property management.
The company’s last two projects in Cockburn Central have both been Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) award winners, and reflect Australand’s continuing commitment to delivering high-quality, innovative designs and reward a “people driven” company which strives to keep its customers at the heart of everything it does.
The Australian Business Executive recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tony Perrin, General Manager of the Residential Western Australia division, to learn a little more about the company. Mr. Perrin’s resume is highly impressive, having been involved in a variety of property development roles for over 20 years. Gaining a Masters qualification in Project Management and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Quantity Surveying from Curtin University in Perth, Mr. Perrin has also undertaken Executive Management related courses at the MacQuarie Graduate School in Sydney.
After spending some years with Australand in the roles of Business Development Manager and Development Manager in both the Sydney and Perth offices, Mr. Perrin began working for Nakheel in Dubai, spending nearly three years on the Palm Jebel Ali and Waterfront projects as a Development Director, before rejoining Australand in his current position.
Over the years Mr. Perrin has been intimately involved in a number of high profile projects, which have seen him undertake a range of tasks from negotiating with vendors and government authorities, to design refinement and value management. His experience covers a variety of building forms, including both high and low-rise apartment buildings, integrated residential/retail mixed-use developments, combining minor commercial and retail elements, detached and attached villa and townhouses, as well as plot subdivision design. Additionally, he has been involved in high-rise residential and mid-rise commercial offices, and commercial car park developments.
According to Mr. Perrin, residential trends in WA are currently affected by a number of significant industry issues. “With WA’s population growth largely reliant on immigration and interstate migration,” he says, “housing choices are largely reliant on what forms of living people entering WA are comfortable with.” The traditional 4×2 bedroom home with large backyard is a product largely driven by the needs of local mature generations. This is not reflective of the growing offshore and immigrating purchasers demands or sectors of the younger first-time buyer market. The region will continue to see growth in lower maintenance, turnkey compact forms of housing such as apartments and townhouses at the expense of the conventional detached home.
Likewise, WA’s sub-contracting trades will mature in coming years which will see the shift of many sole trades into smaller scale commercialised subcontracting teams. This shift will come as a direct result of the popularity of medium scale infill apartments and large-scale turnkey housing developments. Productivity improvements in delivery time of housing in turnkey outcomes will also apply pressure to the less efficient and unreliable nature of sole trades working on single sites, which are in effect costing purchasers in additional rental payments during construction.
Affordability is driving more compact living, and with costs of building remaining stable over the past five years, the reduction in land area is the primary driving force behind affordable living options. One issue that has become noticeable recently is that there has been a significant adjustment in design to the point where the design standards of apartment living afford better internal space than housing. Some housing plans indicate 3m by 2.4m master bedroom, while others have a skylight and no windows. In Mr. Perrin’s view, “it is very debatable as to whether these forms of accommodation are creating socially appropriate living options.”
Design and development flexibility for the apartment and integrated housing market is currently constrained through strata title reform delays, in particular the opportunity for industry to use the Community Title Scheme. This platform operates in all other states bar WA and puts significant constraints on mixed use projects in particular, but also places large hurdles in the path of major projects that would add great character-changing qualities to the fabric of Perth.
Mr. Perrin believes that Stamp Duty concessions for off the plan sales should be taken more seriously by government as a means of supporting its delivery of the urban consolidation strategy in Directions 2031, West Australian State Government’s initiative to guide change and the growth in Perth over the forthcoming decades. Currently, most new housing on the fringe pays only on the land value of a finished dwelling whilst infill accommodation pays on the fully constructed dwelling price. Infill development is generally driving greater contributions in GST through construction costs being of higher value. Mr. Perrin believes that “some balance in this area would offer the consumer more options and value.”
Development Assessments Panels
Australand’s WA Residential Business unit has been firmly positioned around delivering a mixture of master-planned greenfield communities, urban infill housing and apartment developments, for over 10 years. The Perth market offers a range of new infill opportunities as a result of Development Assessments Panels (DAP) ensuring a balanced view and efficient timeframe for development approval decisions and approval reforms. In the years before the global financial crisis, apartment development was largely constrained to the Perth CBD and its surrounding areas, as well as satellite city Joondalup. The DAPs have greatly assisted the acceleration of apartment development locations outside these traditional areas.
According to Mr. Perrin, the company believes strongly in ensuring attention is focused on a select range of projects that offer excellent living experiences and quality long-term investments. “We expect our buildings to be built safely,” he says, “with a disciplined approach to design, delivery, quality and timeliness to ensure we meet our customers’ needs.” The combination of these attributes help the delivery of a strong, enduring investment value and underpin a continuing interest from previous clients to reinvest in the Australand brand. Mr. Perrin says that the company will continue to operate an internal construction business to assist in delivering complex multistage projects, where flexibility in commencement of buildings is needed to protect the customer handover experience.
One of the most important factors for any property development business is the establishment of quality contractors. Australand have a broad range of consultant teams who align their service values with the company’s key business values of authenticity, respect, dynamism and passion. The company has forged strong working relationships with many of its consultants, which has seen some continue to work with Australand for over 20 years.
In the words of Darryn Stone, Australand’s WA Development Director for Built Form, “we work extensively with AS4801 approved contractors but have a prominent, rigid and focused approach to a safe worksite for our internal subcontractors who support our internal commercial construction team.”
Mr. Perrin is always keen to talk to businesses that offer innovative thinking and new and enterprising services. Interpersonal relationships between Australand staff and consultant personnel are largely founded on trust and reliability, but must also rely on the consultant’s capacity to respect the company’s unique and intense design review and development process. The company undertakes tenders for almost all construction work, but looks favorably upon partnering approaches where time cycle benefits or cost efficiency can be achieved.
One of the company’s most significant works in recent years is the hugely ambitious and multi-award winning project at Pantheon Avenue in North Coogee, on the Cockburn coast. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity to transform an old industrial coastline into a living, breathing, waterfront hub, Australand set out a vision of a well designed, compact and connected oceanside community, to support a diverse range of uses in a sustainable urban environment, well integrated with public transport. The completed Port Coogee project is one of Australia’s largest coastal marina development projects, clocking in at close to a $2billion end cost, and consisting of over 810 house lots, approximately 1,100 apartments, a 300 berth marina and a retail, commercial and tourism precinct of approximately 12,000sqm. The project has won four state awards (UDIA) and three national awards (2 UDIA and 1 Property Council) since completion.
Located within the City of Cockburn, approximately 23km southwest of the Perth CBD and 5km south of Fremantle, Port Coogee will be home to more than 4,000 to 5,000 people and a thriving, modern community set within a coastal playground. Here lies a development unique across Australia in its scale, history, nature and location—a development that is hugely significant for Australand nationally, with truly region-defining implications.
Within the submission criteria for the 2012 UDIA National Awards for Excellence, the Port Coogee application excelled in respect of the key criteria of Urban Form, Community Creation and Integration, Environmental and Engineering Considerations, as well as a number of other specifications. The planning for the development struck a balance between residential zones, marina zones, environmental impacts, sustainability goals and commercial considerations. Areas of environmental impact were reduced, the public areas of Coogee Beach were maintained, and land use zones were linked to rejuvenate degraded areas and achieve high permeability. The Local Structure Plan (LSP) uses included: a marina and associated water-based activities; residential and short stay accommodation; tourism; retail and commercial; and a diverse range of recreational activities.
The entire urban structure is centred around the marina’s natural amphitheatre setting, with a local road pattern enveloping and gravitating towards the centre stage that is the Marina Village. The architecture is strongly influenced by the special qualities of the site. These include the colours of the landscape, the topography of the development and the microclimate, with the need for adjustable indoor/outdoor spaces to create a balance between privacy and transparency. Whilst maintaining a focus on site-responsive design, good solar orientation of lots has been considered and met for the majority of the estate. The urban design has been directed towards maximising passive solar design with north-south streets and capturing maritime breezes through benching and open space placement.
The road layout plans were based on a sound and logical hierarchy to provide for traffic movements of local residents, as well as visitors to Port Coogee. To achieve an integrated development area, the existing Cockburn Road was realigned to the eastern boundary of the developable area into a four-lane road. This moved all the transient traffic from the zone, and also enhanced Cockburn Road itself through its elevated position and views of Cockburn Sound. The street network provides a well-connected, permeable and legible subdivision pattern designed to manage distribution of vehicular movements and maximise pedestrian accessibility. The street layout is also designed to maximise ocean views and celebrate views of the public realm (such as public open spaces). All higher density lots within the development are provided with laneway access to facilitate an attractive and pedestrian-oriented streetscape. The street network within the Marina Village centre allows for temporary road closures for community uses and events, freeing up pedestrian autonomy without adversely compromising road traffic flow around the Village.
The focus for the project was on creating a place that works both on a local community level for the residents and as a destination for visitors. The mix of development is aimed at getting closer to a ‘whole of life’ approach, offering ‘traditional’ or ‘family sized’ lots, small lots and other medium density living opportunities, as well as a significant amount of higher density apartment living, offering choices to suit people at any stage in their lives. Current land for sale at Port Coogee ranges from under $420,000 for centrally located low-maintenance lots close to the Marina Village up to $1.875million for island living lots with a boat mooring envelope.
Port Coogee is a genuine coastal jewel, a superb place to live and a facility for the people of Coogee and Cockburn. It also represents a significant draw for visitors from beyond; a place in which to live, relax, socialise, wine, dine, shop, play, browse and soak up the unique marina atmosphere and the beauty of the West Australian coastal environment, all in an engaging village setting.
Perhaps the most impressive aspects of Australand’s portfolio are the significant apartment developments in Cockburn Central town centre, consisting of six physical buildings (Axis, Linx, Axon, Luxe, Kingston 1 and Kingston 2) with a seventh, the Kingston 3 project, on the verge of completion. The fourth and final Kingston unit is also in the process of being built and sold, as well as Australand’s newest addition to the neighbourhood, Vicinity Apartments. All of these projects are regarded under the umbrella of Cockburn Living, a name Australand owns as the developer in the immediate town centre area of Cockburn Central, and represents a huge boost for the local community in terms of the provision of living solutions.
The Luxe Apartments project was another submitted for consideration for the UDIA Awards for Excellence in 2012, in the Medium Density Development category (Port Coogee was submitted in the category of Environmental Excellence). Luxe was the fourth apartment complex to be completed at Cockburn Central Town Centre—a significant, emerging activity centre situated in Perth’s vastly expanding southern growth corridor. Comprising 13 ground floor retail units and 81 apartments, available in a range of size options, this transit orientated development combines luxury open-plan living with a low maintenance, urban lifestyle.
Australand worked with other developers and key agencies to forge a collaborative approach for Cockburn Central. As part of the Cockburn Central Landowners Working Group, Australand was able to deliver and share its objectives and vision for Luxe to ensure it met and exceeded the shared expectations for the area—projected to eventually serve a surrounding population of 190,000 people. Active involvement in a series of key stakeholder/community vision workshops furnished the construction team with important insights regarding interim improvements and long-term solutions to increase the desirability and functionality of the area. These workshops were instrumental in creating a strong place vision for Cockburn Central town centre and formed the basis for the design and functionality.
Australand invested time in developing a marketing strategy that positioned Luxe as one of the leading residential complexes in the town centre. Developing the ‘healthy living’ theme actively promoted the strong communal features of Luxe—positioning the complex as a lifestyle ‘choice’ rather than a simple apartment purchase. To further promote the healthy lifestyle on offer, all purchasers were given a voucher to purchase a bicycle as part of the welcome pack to Luxe. Strong, directional images offered potential residents a glimpse of life at Luxe, whilst a digitally designed brochure, downloadable fact sheet and web pages furnished purchasers with detailed information on the pricing structure, floor plans and information on the surrounding area.
With prices for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment starting at $430,000, including one basement car bay and 81sqm of living space, Australand received a strong response to the marketing campaign. Since 2007, over 400 apartments have been sold in the entire Cockburn Central complex. The low maintenance, stylishly appointed apartments, featuring communal recreation facilities, offer a convenient lifestyle within walking distance of the Cockburn Train Station and bus interchange, the Gateway Shopping Centre, and are just a short drive away from Fremantle, beaches and the Perth CBD. This active way of life has appealed strongly to young professional singles and couples seeking to enter the property market, down-sizers seeking low maintenance living and FIFO workers wanting lock and leave secure properties.
The Kingston Apartments project in the same area was the winner of the Medium Density Development category at 2014’s UDIA awards, and represents a huge success for the company in the thriving Cockburn Living development. Inspired by the ‘Eixample’ District in Barcelona, Kingston Apartments makes reference to the District’s quadrant neighbourhood designs. It comprises four individual apartment buildings each with their own identity and address, yet inextricably linked by shared recreational and open space zones and symbiotic architectural design. There is a clear and coherent approach to the design of the site and block as a whole. Significant financial and developmental benefits were gained by the innovative design of the apartments. Staged construction of each of the four apartment buildings minimised the financial risk and allowed Australand to fund subsequent stages from sales.
The luxurious central shared zone—which was completed during the construction of the first apartment building, thereby allowing the first residents to take advantage of its benefits—comprises a gymnasium, lap pool and lounge area, barbeque and pizza oven and an outdoor cinema. An integrated car park is concealed underground and accessed from Sleeper Lane, an aspect of the build designed to house the less visually appealing service-based elements of the building. Product differentiation is evident from a wide range of apartment layouts with varying aspects. While affordable one and two bedroom configurations are on offer, there is a high level of product diversity ensuring they appeal to a broad demographic mix attracting both investors and owner-occupiers and stimulating a more diverse occupant character for the overall development in the longer term.
A key focus of the design was to minimise the reliance on high-energy cooling systems, by integrating cross ventilation as much as possible and maintaining an urban design both climatically responsive and sustainable. As a result two thirds of Kingston Apartments have cross ventilation—exceeding five-star national benchmarks for energy efficiency. Designed by award-winning architects Cameron Chisholm & Nicol, the apartments all have an average six-star overall energy rating, with some even up to 7.5 stars, well above the minimum requirements of Australia’s national building code. Kingston offers residents a healthy, energy efficient way of living with excellent indoor air quality, lighting, heating and water consumption.
Committed to meeting the needs of the local community and the aims of LandCorp to develop Cockburn Central as a key Activity Centre, as with the Luxe development, Australand was able to draw on its relationship with stakeholders, local government and community groups to generate a visually appealing design that complemented the area, while at the same time promoted the vision for the estate. The approach to the architectural character of Kingston was to successfully blend the built form with the character, grain and scale of the building edge at street level.
The impact that Australand is having on property development both in Western Australia and across the country is truly commendable, and no doubt there will be more to come from this socially conscious company in the coming years. Those residents benefiting from the excellent accommodation and amenities at any one of these WA developments will agree that Australand properties are an extremely welcome addition to the area.
Find out more about Frasers Property here: www.frasersproperty.com.au
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This Australand business profile has been made possible by the generous support of:
Editorial written by Nicholas Paul Griffin.