The AU$2.8 billion (RM9.49 billion) Melbourne Square project in Australia by Malaysia's OSK Property is among the largest developments proposed in the state of Victoria.
Located along Kavanagh Street in Melbourne's Southbank, phase I of the mixed-use project is expected to be unveiled in October, said OSK Managing Director Ju Yan, adding that this represents their first project outside of Malaysia.
Construction of the development comprising six towers is anticipated to commence by year-end and it's expected to take 10 years to complete.
Yan believes the project will benefit from the growing demand from owner-occupiers looking for apartments with ample space, as 78 percent of the flats in the project come with two or more bedrooms.
"We've taken a conscious view to designing something that caters to owner-occupiersâ€¦ to include features, amenities, layouts that make apartments suitable.â€
Phase I will consist of 1,043 flats, a podium housing a 4,000 sq m supermarket, a childcare centre and a park spanning 3,700 sq m.
"Southbank with its 20,400 residents has no full-line supermarket. There's a shortage of childcare, and there's no park" he noted, adding that they are close to securing a supermarket operator.
"We expect to see in coming years, especially once we deliver the child care and supermarket, that there will be more downsizers, there will be more young families who want to live in a precinct.â€
Moreover, the project is backed by Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in Melbourne Square for AU$154 million (RM521.88 million).
Yan said the EPF's participation is viewed as a "vote of confidenceâ€ in the development, despite warnings by experts that there could be supply glut of apartments in the area.
"We studied the numbers very carefully. We wanted to make sure we were making the right decision to come into the market.â€
"Vacancy rates are below two percent. There are a number of structural positivesâ€¦ You've got a strong economy, good healthcare, top-notch education system, great living environment, and lots of jobs" he added.
Melbourne Square will be financed by a consortium of banks based outside of Australia.