Two mates take industrial sheds to the next level with $50m Sanctuary development

The Sanctuary ‘man caves’ look more like a residential home than an industrial building.

A 5542sq m swathe of vacant land in Southport is soon to become a hive of creative activity with the construction of 70 upmarket industrial spaces, or “man caves”.

Developer Baja bought the vacant site at 515 Olsen Ave in November 2021 for $4.875m and last week revealed plans for its $50m dollar DA-approved Sanctuary project which is being dubbed the first “man cave and she-shed” community on the Gold Coast.

Baja founders Jordan Powell and Ben McArthur saw a gap in the market for luxury commercial spaces.

Friends Ben McArthur and Jordan Powell founded Baja after identifying a gap in the market for more luxury industrial and commercial sheds, with demand coming from beachfront apartment dwellers seeking additional space in which to pursue their hobbies and store their motorised “toys”.

Looking more like a residential than an industrial building, more than 200 inquiries have been fielded within the first few days since launch.

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“Gone are the days when you just slap up sheds and put a roller door on the front, the potential end uses of these spaces go far beyond a lock-up and leave unit,” said Mr McArthur.

“We want these spaces to be a home away from home that people can emotionally attach themselves to and enjoy spending time in.”

The pair, who both have more than 10 years of building experience behind them working for Hutchinson Builders, said they wanted Sanctuary to become its own community, where people could come together to share ideas, refer business and nurture new relationships.

The spaces will be aimed at those wanting more comfortable spaces away from their homes.

“When you look at the design from the exterior, it has a look and feel that makes it hard to tell if it’s residential property or a commercial operation,” Mr McArthur said

“People are craving more space in which to create and connect with people outside of the home or a traditional office, so it makes sense to blend the best of both within an industrial product.”

The architect-designed, multi-level spaces will be priced from $470,000 and range from 85sq m to 151sq m, set over three levels, including a mezzanine, connected by a lift.

The spaces will be air-conditioned and include a kitchenette and bathroom with sleek black tapware.

Many will be a place to store “toys” such as bikes, luxury cars and jetskis.

Mezzanine levels will have timber flooring while ground floors will be finished in a showroom-style epoxy resin.

There is LED lighting throughout, with access via a front door or discrete 3m roller door suitable for larger toys and possessions.

Clearance heights total 6m on the first level, 7m on the second and up to 4m on the rooftop level.

Agent Adam Grbcic of Kollosche Commercial, who is marketing the project, said the demand for stylish industrial spaces was booming on the Gold Coast, driven by a number of factors.

A concentration of seaside apartment living is one reason, with people looking for extra space in which to store lifestyle toys, such as cars, boats and jetskis.

The Sanctuary man caves and she sheds are being aimed at local buyers and investors.

“More flexible work arrangements mean professional people are seeking suitable space outside of the office or their home in which to create and connect with like-minded people.

“The rise in e-Commerce ventures is another factor, with those operators needing large spaces in which to store products ready for shipping.”

The Southport location offers easy access to the M1 and Smith Street Motorway with a range of major infrastructure and amenities close by.

Mr Grbcic said a 6 per cent yield and 12-month rent guarantee made the asset class appealing for investors, particularly those buying through a self-managed super fund.

“The increasing cost and limited supply of storage on the Gold Coast makes buying a more viable option when rental spend is compounded over longer terms,” he said.

The scale of the project and the multi-level design are firsts for the Gold Coast, inspired by similar projects in Melbourne where similar upmarket community hubs are popular.