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24.03.2022 | Australian Financial Review

University of Melbourne campus to become $400m apartment project

University of Melbourne campus to become $40m apartment project

Written by Larry Schlesinger | Australian Financial Review
Prominent Melbourne developer Hamton has swooped on the University of Melbourne’s former Hawthorn campus in the city’s affluent eastern suburbs, in a deal valued at more than $40 million.

Hamton, led by adventurer Paul Hameister (OAM) and Matt Malseed, plan to develop 300 apartments on the 1.62hasite with an end value of about $400 million.

The Hamton development at 442 Auburn Road will integrate with a neighbouring affordable and social housing project being undertaken on a 1ha site by the state government’s Homes Victoria.

“Our vision for this project is to integrate our masterplan with the surrounding area’s green open space and adjacent Homes Victoria development to create a new2.6ha village on the hill,” Mr Hameister said.

“We are also committing to deliver 10 per cent of the new homes in our project as affordable housing.”

The project is another big win for Hamton, which has built its reputation around partnering with major institutional investors on large-scale residential developments. These include the $2 billion residential development at Moonee Valley Racecourse being undertaken in a joint venture with industry superfund Hostplus and the Moonee Valley Racing Club.

Hamton and the university will seek to rezone the Hawthorn site for medium density housing with construction expected to kick off in 2025.

The project, to be designed by architects Woods Bagot, will consist of a number of low-rise buildings of three to six levels, consistent in scale with the Homes Victoria scheme, and will include 4000 sq m of public parkland.

Mr Hameister said an undersupply of apartments was looming in Melbourne.

“The forward-looking forecasts for apartment supply in Melbourne is extraordinary,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

’There’s almost no supply of build-to-sell[apartments] in 2025, but a fair bit of build-to-rent.”

He said the Hawthorn project would look to tap into demand from local downsizing Baby Boomers with a focus on “green open spaces and creating a lifestyle precinct”.

Mr Hameister declined to reveal the price Hamton has paid for the site, citing a confidentiality agreement. According to the University of Melbourne’s 2020 Annual Report, it had a book value at December 31, 2020 of$40.1 million.

The Financial Review understands it sold for a price significantly higher than that figure.

For the University of Melbourne, the sale of its Hawthorn campus will provide funds to support its capital contribution to the Australian Institute of Infectious Disease. The AIID is a $650 million project jointly funded by the state government, the university, the Doherty Institute and the Burnet Institute.

Previously the Hawthorn Institute of Education, the campus amalgamated with the university in 1996. In 2016, it was deemed surplus to requirements and the university explored its options before being approached with a proposal by Hamton.

“We’re very pleased to be selling to Hamton, whose proposal we found very acceptable” Allan Tait, chief operating officer of the University of Melbourne, told the Financial Review.

As part of the carbon-neutral development – the first proposed in the City Boroondara – Hamton will retain more than 100 mature trees on the site and plant another 100 trees.

“What makes this project so unique is that we get to retain so many mature trees. You rarely get that opportunity,” Mr Hameister said.

Read AFR article here.
Hamton will transform the campus into a series of low-rise apartment buildings.

Hamton will transform the campus into a series of low-rise apartment buildings.

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