Lowe Living Receives a 4 month Planning Approval for $160m Mixed Use Project

27 April 2023

Design-led developer Lowe Living has partnered with established property developer and financer Icon Kajima (formerly Icon Developments) to deliver its $160 million mixed-use project in South Melbourne which has received a fast-tracked planning permit after just four months.

The announcement comes after Lowe Living first acquired the site and achieved the fast-tracked planning permit, which motivated Lowe Living to bring on a trusted joint venture partner in the form of ICON Kajima to accelerate the project’s construction timeframe.

The swift approval was a result of Lowe Living’s intrinsic focus on market-leading design, architectural expression – led by architect Woods Bagot – and functional built-form which gave the City of Port Phillip confidence in greenlighting the notice of decision (NoD).

The appointment of Woods Bagot as architect also gave council confidence in granting the approval – the practice worked in lockstep with Lowe Living to control design outcomes and create a carefully considered architectural product.

Poised to commence construction in Q4 this year, the project is slated to be built over 18 months.

ICON Kajima’s proven capability in projects of this size and scale – which includes a $1 billion project portfolio of residential, commercial and mixed-use sites across Australia and NZ – complements Lowe Living’s expanding $500m pipeline of luxury residential and mixed-use sites in Melbourne’s bayside, the largest of which is the $160 million mixed-use South Melbourne site.

Poised to be a leading precinct on the corner of Clarendon Street and York Street, on the edge of the Melbourne CBD, the two groups are focused on delivering functionality, enduring design and trust, alongside luxurious finishes, high-quality end product and leading build quality.

As Lowe Living continues to expand its portfolio of larger-scale mixed-use developments across residential, commercial and retail, adding to its already established stable of high-end boutique projects in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs, the South Melbourne joint venture partnership represents the next evolution in the Lowe Living portfolio, said founder and managing director Tim Lowe.

“ We feel very confident in South Melbourne’s owner-occupier market, and believe strongly that Lowe Living’s focus on luxury boutique projects across design and quality product will translate to a larger mixed-use precinct.

“ The fundamental reason for the joint venture partnership is ICON Kajima’s experience in delivering exceptional projects of comparable size and scale.

“ Our aim is to continue to acquire and bring to market 1 – 2 of these larger scale projects per annum; this partnership with ICON Kajima allows us to fast-track this objective for this South Melbourne project while maintaining our current pipeline activity across our boutique division.

“ We worked closely with both Woods Bagot and the City of Port Phillip to achieve the permit in under 4 months. The approval means we are now ready to hit the ground running on this major site.

“ We are continuing to actively pursue further acquisitions across Melbourne, and where appropriate will continue to explore further joint venture agreements where there is value in order to unlock larger scale projects.

“ We are looking forward to working hand-in-hand to deliver a market-leading project to one of Melbourne’s most sought-after commercial areas, while maintaining our key focus on one-on-one client relationships throughout their journey.

Of the partnership, ICON Kajima Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bourke added “ Icon Kajima is pleased to partner with Lowe Living for what is set to be one of the most exciting built- form precincts in South Melbourne – as has been recognised by the City of Port Phillip. The strength of our multi-faceted business model positions us well to deliver quality and scalable mixed-use projects with a structured finance solution. With our proven track record and Kajima Corporations’ balance sheet capacity, this will allow the joint venture to realise innovative outcomes and play a significant role in shaping the built environment of Clarendon and York Streets, South Melbourne.”

The South Melbourne project will consist of a 2,000sqm two-level commercial office building with an adjacent 500sqm car park alongside 1,000sqm of ground-floor retail, and 36 apartments which range from 110sqm – 390sqm across two, three and four-bedroom offerings. The building will be targeting a minimum 7-Star NatHERs rating in operation.

The official sales launch for the $160m project is scheduled to commence in Q3 2023.