15 July 2021

160 units in build-to-rent Oaks Stage 3 for Woden

| Ian Bushnell
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Oaks Stage 3

An artist’s impression of the build to rent tower and three-storey serviced apartments at right. Images: DBI Architects.

The third stage of Amalgamated Property Group’s Oaks development on the former Yamba Sports Club site in Phillip will be a 16-storey, 160-unit tower designed exclusively for rental accommodation.

A development application has been lodged for the $42 million build-to-rent project, which also includes an adjacent three-storey, 18-room serviced apartment complex for visitors.

Amalgamated intends to retain ownership of the development, which will be run by a concierge.

Stage 3 will join two other residential towers on the Oaks site fronting Melrose Drive, with entrances from Irving Street to the rear.

The DA says the proposal offers a different type of housing option for those seeking short-term accommodation and a holistic rental offering with a high level of communal amenity that fosters a community within the development.

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Build-to-rent investments are popular in the UK and US but are only emerging in Australia. The ACT Government has commissioned a feasibility study into the concept as part of its drive to increase secure and affordable rental accommodation in the ACT. The ACT has some of the highest rents in the country.

”Unlike traditional residential development, the building is fully owned and operated by a commercial operator, allowing for integrated building maintenance and management,” the DA says.

”The development offers a range of typologies to suit sole occupants, couples and families; and due to being managed by a single entity provides the opportunity for its residents to upsize or downsize their housing within the development according to their household and lifestyle needs, rather than having to find different accommodation elsewhere which impacts on social connections and contributes to housing instability – factors which detract from building strong local communities.”

The DA says the development also provides an affordable and accessible housing alternative to homeownership, while enabling residents to share in the communal amenity benefits of the Oaks precinct and the convenience of its location within the Woden Town Centre.

Serviced apartments

The three-storey serviced apartments designed for visitors.

Communal facilities will include a business centre, cinema, rooftop outdoor entertainment space with barbecues and dining areas, a large central lawn terrace with recreation pavilions, vegetable gardens, more barbecue and outdoor dining areas, and outdoor seating.

The concierge will also organise events to foster community within the development, including yoga and personal training sessions on the communal lawn, indoor and outdoor movie nights, special interest clubs and workshops.

The tower’s ground floor comprises lobby and communal spaces, such as the cinema, games room, private dining room and the business centre.

On levels 2 to 15, there will be 11 units per floor, with a mix of one, one plus study, and two-bedroom units serviced by three lifts, with most of the apartments facing north.

On the top floor, there will be a mix of six one, two and three-bedroom units, and amenities such as a lounge, covered barbecue pavilion and open landscape terrace.

A total of nine accessible rooms are to be provided across the development.

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The second building is sited to the north and set back from Melrose Drive and Irving Street. It comprises a lobby, multipurpose space, lounge and nine rooms, with five having private courtyards.

A two-level basement car park will have 168 spaces.

It will also include bicycle storage and building services. Access will be via a two-way ramp connected to the entry driveway crossing Irving Street.

The Oaks development is named for two registered trees on the site that will be retained. The site was once owned by the Eddison family who lost three sons in World War II. A plaque at the base of one of the oaks commemorates their sacrifice.

When completed, the Oaks will be a three-tower, landscaped precinct with a range of community facilities.

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HiddenDragon7:11 pm 01 Jan 21

In a world where the cost of finance has never been lower, and other investments are looking increasingly bubbly/risky, reaping long-term increases in land values (and thus rents) in strategic locations is obviously a very smart option for developers. Likewise smart to get all tenants to pay for facilities and services they all might not need or want, or always be able to afford – this is like another (fully privatised) level of government.

Whether it will prove to be so smart for people who might otherwise have been able to buy (particularly those optimists who think they’re only moving to Canberra for a few years…….) is another matter. As tenants of public housing know all-too-well, there’s also the sticky question of what happens to the “communities” which develop in such buildings when the building is eventually (and inevitably) found to be no longer “fit for purpose” – something which probably tends to happen around the time that zoning rules change to allow many more apartments to be put on the same parcel of land.

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