Leading Australian integrated property development group, Aqualand, is redefining the definition of luxury in their AURA by Aqualand mixed-use tower in North Sydney.
The $1B residential community is the second to be delivered by Aqualand’s internal construction arm, Aqualand Construction, and will comprise 386 premium apartments above a richly landscaped two storey retail podium and commercial spaces.
Located at 168 Walker Street, on the edge of the rapidly transforming North Sydney CBD, AURA is nearing completion, with Aqualand having recently marked the construction of its uppermost floor, which rises 28 storeys above the streetscape, with a topping out ceremony.
This period in AURA’s construction is an interesting time, according to Aqualand’s Executive Director Development & Construction, Tom Catalovski, as the various ‘layers’ of luxury are briefly visible at various stages throughout the building’s ongoing fit out.
“When most people use the term ‘luxury’, they’re generally referring to the quality of the fixtures and fittings – the elements of the residence on show and used on a daily basis, such as counter tops, cabinetry, tiling, tapware, lighting and the flooring, for example,” Tom said.
“And as these fittings are currently being installed floor-by-floor in AURA, the fact that they epitomise ‘luxury’ is clearly evident. But our idea of ‘luxury’ goes beyond the surface to also describe the additional features we’re building into future proof the structure, the layers that won’t be seen when the fit outs are complete. In fact, most residents won’t ever know about the additional luxurious features we’re electing to install into AURA.
“While we’re installing our hand-selected marble, which was inspected on various site visits to quarries in Greece, and high-grade direct-fix timber flooring, it’s really what’s underneath this layer that defines our approach to ‘luxury’, such as the high-quality water proofing membrane we install and the double-glazed façade windows providing acoustic protection, for example.
“Many people assume developers install bottom of the range fittings and fixtures of a perceived quality brand and position them as the best quality. However, at Aqualand we go to great lengths to ensure all the inclusions are best-in-class, and what’s installed is exactly to our strict specifications and meets our high expectations.
“We intend to be in the luxury market for generations to come, so our reputation for delivering the best possible quality is of paramount importance to us. That’s why we developed our own in-house construction arm, to ensure our build quality is second to none and truly lasts the test of time.
“We go to great lengths to meet and exceed the standards mandated by the Building Code of Australia. For example, we appoint industry leading independent peer review consultants, ensure we adopt their recommendations and implement best-in-class procedures with our building standards.
“It’s the details you don’t see, behind the walls, floors and ceilings that gives our clients security over time, and this is especially important when there’s such an industry focus on building defects.
“We’ve also gone above and beyond by hiring a team of independent tier one consultants to conduct peer reviews of the entire design and construction process initially specified by our tier one project team, which includes world-renowned architects Woods Bagot, Richards Stanisich and Turf Design Studio, and service and structural consultants BG&E, Shelmerdines, WSP and Webb, plus all the top contractors and premium suppliers, such as Gaggenau, Bosch, Sub-zero, Technogym, Samsung, and Parisi, to name a few. The peer review resulted in recommendations for even better-quality products being specified for example.”
Aqualand has also elected to engage a third party to undertake a peer review on quality assurance, once the fit out is complete.
“We’ve also engaged a company called Strata Defect Specialists Sydney to undertake a third-party independent defecting review, in addition to that carried out by our building team, to help ensure an outstanding experience for our customers at their pre-settlement inspections. They’ll be ensuring we’re delivering the quality our clients have come to expect of us. Again, this goes way beyond the industry standard,” added Tom.
A clearly evident aspect of AURA’s luxury offering are the oversized apartments, which exceed the North Sydney Council’s minimum building requirements. The standard size for a two-bedroom apartment in the area is 80sqm, with AURA’s measuring 95sqm, plus a wintergarden, making them well over 100sqm in total. AURA’s design was revised three times to increase the size of the apartments, with the initial plan decreasing from 448 residences to 386.
Other luxury inclusions visible to residents include the integration of the latest technology, including provisions to charge electric vehicles. A pool of Tesla share vehicles will be available for hire, all apartments will have full fibre nbn internet connections, and Wi-Fi hot spotting will be installed in common areas throughout the entire building.
The building will also benefit from a building management system to monitor and control the building’s services to ensure efficient management and allow for early detection and rectification of any issues to ensure the building is always operating optimally.
AURA represents the fifth residential project delivered by Aqualand since the company’s launch in 2014 and is well on the way to joining a portfolio of other notable completed projects such as BLUE at Lavender Bay in Milsons Point and The REVY at Darling Island.
Aqualand Group Managing Director, Jin Lin, says Aqualand’s integrated holistic business model is another key to their success.
“We’re continuing to grow strength by strength. Even in these uncertain times we’re still performing strongly due to the 100% ownership of our development and internal construction arm, and other lifestyle service and hospitality business offerings.
“Our other completed landmark projects are testament to our focus on delivering quality. This is especially attractive to our clients at a time when many other developers are struggling to find builders for their projects and buyers are asking who’s building the project as one of their very first questions. Construction quality really is top of mind now.
“As the sole developer and builder of the state significant Central Barangaroo precinct, our future buyers can also expect this focus to carry through to that project too. Understated luxury is our hallmark and I’m truly proud of this. Our positioning statement of ‘Live Better’ certainly rings true,” he added.
AURA will feature an extensive podium level retail precinct providing residents with a curated shopping and dining destination on their doorstep, including a providore, bakery, café and wine bar, an all-day diner and a contemporary Japanese restaurant. A network of landscaped laneways will also welcome visitors into the precinct.
Other resident amenities include a lifestyle concierge service, gym equipped with world-leading fitness technology brand Technogym, wellness room, and end-of-trip facilities. A glamorous rooftop area offers a sky sun deck, private dining rooms, barbecue and kitchen space for year-round al fresco entertaining.