Greystar and Fender Katsalidis have announced the planning approval of Australia’s largest build-to-rent (BTR) project in South Yarra. A total of 625 units will be constructed, with the precinct also containing 2,400 sqm of retail and commercial space.

The development will create over a 1,000 jobs through construction and later with its office and retail precincts. Despite only being in its infancy in Australia, the BTR market is highly regarded as an emerging asset building on the success of the model in international markets.

Chris Key, Greystar’s Managing Director in Australia, says the BTR market will bring a number of flexible living options for Australians, whether it be the South Yarra project, or others that will follow.

greystar fender katsalidis development south yarra

“This purposeful design will not only deliver a best-in-class build-to-rent experience to consumers with expertly managed apartments, workspaces and abundant amenity areas, but it will also introduce an innovative new flexible living typology to Australian renters,” he says.

“While build-to-rent is an emerging housing product in Australia, we believe it is simply a matter of time before this residential sector gains a foothold as a primary investment allocation for institutional investors in the Australian market. The City of Stonnington has worked closely with us to understand the nuances of the build-to-rent model, and as a result, we have collectively delivered our shared vision of a truly innovative development plan.”

The proposal includes two towers over a combined basement, with ground level retail offerings that will activate a pedestrian through-link and contribute to the precinct and neighbourhood amenity. The first 30-story Yarra Street tower will comprise 382 build-to-rent apartments and 2,000 square metres of commercial office space. 

The second 21-story Claremont Street tower will provide 243 fully furnished, flexible living apartments. The development will deliver a new pedestrian laneway leading to South Yarra train station, which will conveniently connect residents to Melbourne’s CBD in just two stops. 

“Our design centres on integrating build-to-rent and flex housing into the character of South Yarra’s Forrest Hill precinct through the incorporation of amenity and a focus on the site’s context,” says James Pearce, Director at Fender Katsalidis.

“The towers will be distinct but achieve cohesion using colours and materiality, with the architecture providing the foundations to allow Greystar to operate numerous services and provide a high-quality living experience for its residents.”

greystar fender katsalidis development south yarra

The podium design focuses on enhancing the pedestrian journey for the community while the two towers above are a composition of interlocking, elegant slender forms that maximise views for residents. 

Greystar acquired the two adjoining properties on Yarra and Claremont Streets in February 2020, purchasing two of the last remaining development sites in the Forrest Hill Precinct. The local area has an abundance of retail, food and entertainment offerings that all add to the highly desirable characteristics of this location for modern living.

“This build-to-rent project is an important step in Greystar’s strategic vision of unlocking complex development sites to bring high-quality housing options to a broader spectrum of the rental population,” Key says.