Following the property cycles will lead you to the regional towns and cities after the capital city’s have had their run. Melbourne has been a strong performer and now wise investors are looking towards places like Bendigo. In this article by Stephen Taylor first published in propertyobserver.com.au, he outlines some of the major projects planned for this vibrant city.
The Victorian regional city of Bendigo is on the move with plans approved – and others in the pipeline – for a swag of apartments and commercial premises set to transform the goldfield’s town.
The Bendigo Weekly reports that the latest in a line of multi-million dollar apartment proposals – many in converted factories and warehouses – will ‘’take Bendigo CBD living to the next level’’.
One is said to be the largest apartment and commercial project ever built in the city.
The latest is a plan for a $7 million, 26 dwelling refurbishment of the former Via Furniture site on the corner of Mundy and Havlin streets.
It follows approved plans for:
- A $2.5 million 15 apartment conversion of the former Webb and Co mill building on the corner of Williamson and Queen streets;
- A four-storey $12 million residential and commercial development at 23 Wills Street, opposite Target;
- A $3 million building on the corner of Mitchell and Mollison streets with retail, office space and four apartments.
While approved by the Bendigo Council, none of the apartment projects has yet been started.
The greater emphasis on apartment living relates to Bendigo’s expected population growth – tipped to rise more than 36,000 over the next 20 years on the present figure of 109,199. This is a change of 33.3%. (forecast.id).
In the past 20 years, housing growth – not apartments – has been most heavily concentrated in the suburbs of Kangaroo Flat, Strathfieldsaye, Strathdale, Flora Hill and Golden Square.
Now, local concern is that residential buildings should go up, rather than out, to contain urban sprawl, combined with a desire to protect Bendigo’s historic buildings.
The Bendigo Weekly said the latest proposal – the former Via Furniture site – would have a mixture of four-bedroom detached homes, double-storey terraces and three-storey warehouse style studio apartments.
The medium-density site would have a 20-seat cafe open 7am-7pm seven days a week. The development will back onto Ewing Park and a Bendigo recreational facility.
Owner and builder Russell Parsons, who lodged the application with Greater Bendigo council late last month, is reported in the Weekly as saying the attraction is the site’s proximity to the CBD and restaurant area.
“Central West Bendigo is emerging as an area within the CBD where people are seeking to live and recreate, taking advantage of its natural location and built-form characteristics.
The plan fits in with council’s inner city residential development push, and is in an existing residential area.
“This plan will clearly complement the evolving changes required by our population by providing housing diversity and opportunity, decreased dependence on the car, a new public space and improvements to the public domain.
“People have been looking for developments like these around the CBD for years.”
Other approved apartment projects include the $2.5 million, 15 apartment conversion of the former William Webb building on the corner of Williamson and Queen streets. Webb built the four-storey mill and granary in 1878. At one stage it produced 2500 sacks per week. Webb died in 1909 and production stopped in 1923.
The building was then refitted for the So Easy sewing machine company, with the first machine christened by Acting Prime Minister Earle Page on October 10, 1923.
The new commercial and residential complex will retain as much of the historic building as possible, according to the Weekly.
The facade will not be significantly altered, except for the new shop front and entry point on the ground level, and internal historic features will be highlighted.
Greater Bendigo heritage advisor Mandy Jean reported said the plan would ensure the restoration and rehabilitation of the old mill building and offer city views.
“The objective is to maintain the building’s overall historical significance and fabric in their setting, while adapting the structures to incorporate new uses, including apartments.
“This will include reinstating all the windows, retaining the upper vaulted ceiling, exposing stone and brick walls, uncovering covered structural timber columns and beams and removing false partitions and ceilings.
“There will be the introduction of a new level behind the existing parapet roof.”
What was described by the Weekly as ‘’possibly Bendigo’s biggest private housing development’’ is a four-storey $12 million residential and commercial development at 23 Wills Street, opposite Target.
The building will have underground car parking, commercial and retail levels and two levels of apartments. Apartment numbers are not yet known.
The development fits in with the council’s CBD and residential strategies, having ‘’an active front’’ and apartments above shops.
The developer and local investors had planned a much smaller proposal, however, after reading the council’s 2005 CBD Structure Plan – and in light of future residential and commercial growth – they were inspired to design a much grander building, the Weekly reported.
“When you consider so much of the CBD is either tightly held, too small to develop or subject to heritage protection, it became obvious we ought to utilise the space we had as best we could,’’ developer and business consultant Scott Jackman reportedly said. The building’s design was inspired by Bendigo’s historic buildings.
Bendigo’s residential strategy came under the spotlight last year because of its greater-than-expected growth. The state government said then that 40% of the city’s forecast growth between 2006 and 2031 ‘’had already been realised’’. (Bendigo Weekly).
Regional Development Parliamentary Secretary Damian Drum said a Bendigo residential strategy review would deliver greater community and investor certainty, further helping the region grow.
“Strong residential growth has many flow-on economic benefits and having a clear framework for future development will position Greater Bendigo City Council to undertake more detailed, place-based planning in the future.’’
Then Deputy Premier Peter Ryan added: “This project will review the strategy, assess current and estimated land supply and demand and consider various legislative and policy changes.
“It will also consider the latest demographic data and establish a new strategic framework to guide the long-term residential growth of Greater Bendigo.’’
At Success in Property, we are currently viewing Bendigo favourably, and this may be an ideal second property purchase. As always before you make any property purchase, it is important to ensure that the property will help you towards achieving your long term goals.
Give us a call to discuss your situation on 0409228554.