Jam Factory in Melbourne set for $1.5bn redevelopment by Newmark Capital, Tim Gurner and Qualitas
A trio of high-powered developers has unveiled dramatic plans to redevelop Melbourne’s iconic Jam Factory into a $1.5bn mixed-use precinct sporting high-end shopping, top office and luxury residential towers, and an ultra-luxury hotel.
The scheme is the brainchild of Newmark Capital, entrepreneur Tim Gurner and real estate house Qualitas, who have tapped Bates Smart to design the overhaul of the famed Melbourne site.
Their rejuvenation of the much-loved property promises an array of luxury towers, top-class boutiques and penthouses that could smash the $50m mark.
The city has awaited the plans since Newmark picked up the site six years ago from Challenger for about $165m and then drafted Gurner and Qualitas last year to add their flair to the project.
Mr Gurner said he is planning residences that will break Melbourne residential records, including “six key penthouses and an array of sub-penthouses”.
“Our vision for the residential offerings will raise the bar in the luxury market even higher; I wouldn’t be surprised if we create a penthouse collection that will fetch prices of up to $50m,” he said.
“The depth of the ultra-high end of the market is certainly there and we believe there will be significant investment from wealthy expats and global investors returning to Australia after considerable time abroad, along with a doubling-down of local luxury buyers.”
The project is a confident bet on both Melbourne’s recovery from the pandemic and the city’s wealthy embracing cosmopolitan high-rise living.
The scheme for the 18,000sq m block would unlock the landmark site’s potential, creating a new Chapel Street destination, while revitalising and restoring the 19th century heritage facades along Chapel and Garden Streets.
The proposed revised scheme, expected to be submitted to council this week, includes a 1700sq m, two-level plaza and amphitheatre ringed by four luxury residential towers, with more than 400 luxury residences, and a five-star hotel with about 180 keys.
The complex would also have about 22,500sq m of office space with three levels of experiential retail and entertainment, including retaining and redeveloping the existing cinema.
A new split-level central public space, with a large open staircase forming an amphitheatre for events, would link with open laneways to Chapel Street. An ethereal curvilinear office building would sit above a revitalised heritage facade and the residential towers would sit on stilts.
Newmark will deliver and retain ownership of the commercial and retail component, while Gurner and Qualitas will deliver the luxury residential and hotel component.
The pair contracted to purchase part of the site from Newmark last year, drawing together some of the property industry’s most prominent names for the key Melbourne precinct.
Newmark director Chris Langford said the project would revitalise the Jam Factory, celebrating its heritage, integrate with Chapel Street and create a vibrant shared precinct for the whole community.
“The offices would be compellingly different, offering every amenity as part of a connected community,” Mr Langford said.
“With unparalleled amenity, stunning views and large floorplates, they represent the workplaces of the future.”
Mr Gurner said the residential component would create a new benchmark for the prominent location and deliver a new luxury landmark in South Yarra.
“Our joint aim is very clear and that is to create the best mixed-use precinct in the world, setting a new benchmark for what is possible,” he said.
“Our vision for the residential offerings is to set the bar higher than any other residential project in Australia.
“We will be taking cues from the luxury penthouses of New York and London and offering a level of customisation not seen before,” he said.
He added that creating the luxury residences at St Moritz in St Kilda “really opened our eyes to the depth of the luxury market and challenged us to create a project that had no equal”.
The hospitality element is also expected to reset standards. “We are in early discussions with the world’s best hotel brands and will be running an international EOI in the coming months to lock in our hotel operator and unlock the incredible potential of the site,” he said. The development team has worked with authorities on switching the site from its originally permitted commercial use into an integrated precinct, adding residential towers and a hotel while cutting the proportion of offices in the wake of the pandemic.
Lead architects Bates Smart will be joined by Britain‘s Townshend Landscape Architects and Leonard Design Architects.
The project is slated to launch publicly to the market in early 2022 with completion earmarked for 2025.