Monthly Archives: October 2018

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Acclaimed singer smashes Newtown record with stunning terrace

Baby et Lulu review: Abby Dobson and Lara Goodridge take French love affair to next level???FourPlay: The non-classical string quartet throwing the rule book out the windowTitle Deeds: Property developer Nati Stoliar is out of jail and back in Sydney
Nanjing Night Net

Lara Goodridge is well known as an acclaimed singer and violinist, but her property savvy has gone unremarked, until now.

Thanks to the sale of her Victorian terrace, Goodridge can now add to her list of accomplishments the sale of Newtown’s most expensive house.

A bullish $3.8 million was paid for the house on popular Watkin Street, with records showing the result set a record for the hipster heartland.

The suburb’s previous record was held, only briefly, by a Victorian terrace overlooking nearby Hollis Park at $3.76 million set last August.

Newtown’s median property values have risen 2.1 per cent this year, on the back of last year’s rise of 7.3 per cent, taking the suburb median to a high of $1,347,500, according to Domain Group data.

Goodridge’s three-bedroom house was listed in April with a $3 million guide through Ray White Surry Hills’ Ercan Ersan, but sold before its scheduled May auction. Ersan declined to comment on either the buyer or the vendor.

???Thanks to strong competition, the result more than doubled the $1,783,000 Goodridge paid for it in 2009, when it was sold by lawyer David Blackburn and his wife Gillian.

The house was already renovated when it sold, but has scored a new terrace and swimming pool since then, according to council records.

Goodridge is best known as half of the chanteuse duo Baby et Lulu with Abby Dobson, and is a member of the indie rock band FourPlay String Quartet alongside Shenzo Gregorio and brothers Tim and Peter Hollo.

Records show Goodridge hasn’t gone far, having already traded over to a converted warehouse at the other end of the suburb for $1.25 million in 2013.

The garden on Watkin Street Photo: Supplied.

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Artist David Bromley brings a new energy to cutting-edge West End development

Live on Brisbane’s south side? You could be ‘on a goldmine’Top five Brisbane homes under $700,000The six things Australians blame for high property prices
Nanjing Night Net

Never before has Queensland seen a residential development display quite like the show they’re putting on for West End’s West Village.

Set in the old 1920s Peter’s ice cream factory buildings which will form the heart of the $800 million development, the display already boasts its own caf?? at the end of a leafy laneway and a children’s activity centre luring littlies and their parents in from busy Boundary Street.

There was an icecream festival back in March that attracted 6000 visitors, there’s event space available for hire and there’s noted Australian artist David Bromley adding his signature style to the site.

Controversy aside ??? the large development has attracted its share of opposition in Brisbane’s beloved boho neighbourhood ??? the new energy Bromley’s presence as artist-in-residence has brought to the old building is undeniable.

Along with his wife, Yuge ??? together they are Bromley & Co ??? and with help from local street artist Lucks, Bromley has filled the space bearing his name into a stunning studio gallery of large scale paintings and sculptures.

Natural light streams in through the old factory windows onto the boats and trains ??? Bromley does not fly and the boats and trains have been recurring themes in his work ??? and the nudes and butterflies and boys own adventure-style paintings that he has become known for.

Project director Andrew Thompson says the Bromley Room is part of Japan-based developer Sekisui House’s efforts to engage the community.

“People are realising it’s not just an apartment building, it’s a community, a lifestyle… and we want to show that we mean it,” he said.

“We see this more as a neighbourhood development; this site is a catalyst site for the area, to create something new in an existing neighbourhood.”

Mr Thompson said there had been a lot of scepticism in the community because of the scale of the project but he hoped locals would pay a visit and see the display for themselves.

“There’s a level of density that wasn’t there before but what we are trying to say is that you can have increased density but still have a lifestyle and a community aspect provided it’s done right.

“Density does drive diversity. It’s key. When you go to New York there’s a lot of density but that means smaller retail opportunities can survive because there’s a much larger market. I think that’s the message that we try to provide.”

West Village was called in by the state government last September before final approval was granted in November with fresh conditions including a doubling of publicly accessible green space and a reduction in the overall number of apartments to 1250.

Mr Thompson said 30 per cent of the site would be open space.

“That will range from parklands to laneways, and then there’s an additional 15 per cent of podium landscaping which is for the residents.”

Much of Bromley’s work will remain as the project is finished. Stage One is due for completion by the end of 2018.

The Bromley Room will be open to the public on June 17 and 18, or by appointment. It can also be leased as event space.

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‘Between rock and a hard place’: Angst over rail tunnel’s effect

Metro rail: You want our homes? Show us big dollarsWithin 400m of a train station: A 4.5 per cent value boostVictoriana: Lifting the bar for upmarket developments
Nanjing Night Net

Residents along St Kilda Road are increasingly nervous the value of their properties will drop during the construction of the metro rail tunnel project, expected to take at least five years.

The historic tree-lined boulevard ??? an iconic precinct bordered by parkland and apartment complexes ??? is a busy thoroughfare travelled by 30,000 cars each day.

Marilyn Wane has two properties along St Kilda Road; one she rents out and the other she lives in.

Ms Wane, 61, said she and her fellow neighbours would be “stuck between a rock and a hard place” during the $10.9 billion construction.

Property owners and residents have been told to brace for traffic woes, at least five years of construction and the loss of more than 100 mature trees along St Kilda Road.

“We are all locked up,” said Ms Wane. “There’s no way we’re going to get the value we should get when St Kilda Road is just going to be one huge construction site.”

At a community meeting on Sunday, residents were told construction would be carried out between 6am and 10pm six days a week, and to expect 480 truck movements each day.

The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority plans to build Domain station roughly 15 metres below St Kilda Road using a “cut and cover” method.

The authority has not specified the exact dimensions of the huge pit that will be excavated, but residents believe it will be 300 metres long and 40 metres wide, stretching from Domain Road to Toorak Road.

Ms Wane rents out her sixth-floor apartment overlooking St Kilda Road, but her tenants’ lease expires in December.

“All of the trees along St Kilda Road will have gone by then, and because it has a view, I get a premium rent for it,” she said

But she is worried she could have trouble finding a new tenant and could be forced to reduce the rent. “Over the course of construction, I could potentially lose thousands.”

She said many residents along the leafy boulevard were retirees who sold their homes in the suburbs to downsize. “Because it’s an older demographic, a lot of these people will never see St Kilda Road as it was once again.”

Real estate agent Nicholas Hoo, from Marshall White, said some St Kilda Road property owners were choosing not to sell because they thought construction could have an adverse effect on prices.

But there had been a flurry of selling up prior to the start of construction, he said.

Local agents said there was still strong demand for apartments in established buildings in the $1 million to $3 million bracket, but there was an oversupply of apartments priced under one million in larger, modern buildings.

Paul Osborne, founder of buyers’ advocacy firm Secret Agent, said from a general point of view that it may be harder to sell during construction due to inconveniences such as noise or difficulty accessing the property or nearby amenities.

Without taking into consideration any changes in the property market, he said he would advise holding off selling until the project was finished.

“You don’t want to sell when there’s a question mark,” he said. “You want to sell when it’s done and people can enjoy it.”

Susan Holly from Holly Prestige Property said she had not seen a dip in the market as a result of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.

“I think anyone who gets an apartment understands there’s always going to be something,” she said. “There’s always be a pool upgrade or a major maintenance issue that is going to impact them for a while – it’s all part of high density living.”

“I think savvy investors will see that it’s a really good thing.”

But residents say the five-year construction of Domain station is just an estimate and it could take between eight and ten years, with the Metro Tunnel Project not scheduled to begin operating until 2026.

While spruiking the plan in the media, state government ministers and the authority have labelled the project’s construction as short-term pain for long-term gain, a description Ms Wane disagreed with.

“I’m in my early 60s and 10 years is not short term for me at my stage of life,” she says. “And there’s a whole lot of residents in their early 70s.”

The Save St Kilda Road group, which includes Ms Wane, has petitioned the government to review the proposed project design and consider deep cavern mining construction for Domain station.

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The once ‘grotty’ and overlooked sleeper suburb well and truly on the map

Generic shots of Glen Huntly for Domain neighbourhoods: Booran Reserve, Glen Huntly RoadTiny suburb that’s a city giantA country town 18km from the CBDBaristas, this suburb needs you
Nanjing Night Net

Glen Huntly was, until recently, easily overlooked.

After the primary school celebrated its centenary, the biggest talking point was whether the suburb’s name was one or two words.

But it’s been put on the map with the opening of the ultimate playground in April.

Booran Reserve is touted as the best and most expensive in town. It catapults a trip to the park to a new stratosphere, way beyond the standard slippery dip and swings. It’s $10.8 million worth of jampacked activity, with lots of water play, on the site of the former reservoir at the corner of Booran Road and Glenhuntly Road. Splash pads and sprinklers are sure to be overrun in summer. An ice-cream van has already seen the chance to cash in on the crowds.

It appears to have resuscitated the small suburb which was in danger of flatlining.

People also spill along Glen Huntly Road to the strip shops, with the owner of Whyte Caf?? reporting a business boost. Across the road, the Safeway, once smudged with pigeon poo, has had a makeover. The fresher Woolworths has revived the precinct, which went quiet when banks and butchers left.

“It needed a change,” a local named Ruth explains. “It had become grotty and a bit sad.” She rates highly the coffee at Whyte, but not some of the signalmen at Glen Huntly station, who leave their post for a comfort break, while passengers wait.

Ruth’s lived in the suburb since 1979, making daily use of the public transport.

“I don’t drive,” she said. “That’s why I live in Glen Huntly.”

The level crossing (not on the removal list) is on the Frankston line, which passes through the centre of the suburb. It’s a half hour trip to town by rail.

One one side of the train line is high density housing, with old homes on the other. The median house price nudges $1.3 million, and $510,000 for units, with more going up in Etna Street and Neerim Road, bordering Caulfield Racecourse.

Glen Huntly was named after a Scottish emigrant ship which landed in Hobsons Bay in 1840. A quarantine station was set up at Point Ormond for fever-ridden passengers, and the track inland became Glen Huntly Road.

Champion athletes Ron Clarke and Robert Decastella trained on Caulfield Racecourse with the Glen Huntly Amateur Athletic Club. The place also bred entrepreneurial success. The dire housing scene in the area spawned an idea in 1932. During the Great Depression, struggling real estate agent Albert Victor Jennings mortgaged his Glen Huntly house to start a homebuilding business. He pre-sold the homes from plans instead of the traditional approach of building, then selling. Jennings became the grandfather of mass-produced and mass-marketed housing in Australia.

Like many Melbourne suburbs, different cultures live together. The Indian grocer thrives, and there’s a Jewish population spilt over from Caulfield. Monash University’s Caulfield campus is close. All it needs now, according to Ruth, is some street art. That might be next, once the coffers recover from the extravagant new playground.

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The seasonal problem with our houses ‘that’s not on anyone’s radar’

Poor quality houses could ‘cook’ residentsNew initiative to help save on power billsSome off-the-plan buyers ‘greenwashed’
Nanjing Night Net

The Victorian government will invest $18.8 million to make new homes and underperforming commercial buildings more energy efficient as part of a package of energy measures.

The funding includes $8.9 million to boost efficiency standards for new homes and $5.7 million for the residential efficiency scorecard, which is still being trialled as a rating tool for households to measure their energy performance.

“We want to ensure that Victoria’s homes are the most comfortable and healthy in Australia,” said energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio.

The measures come alongside increasing calls for state governments to strengthen residential building regulations, with housing experts saying the country’s housing falls below international standards.

“Australian building regulations are not as stringent as some overseas,” says Melbourne University lecturer Robert Crawford, who attributes some of the problem to poor building practices and design, including badly installed insulation or glazing.

With winter looming, higher efficiency standards on Victorian homes would be a welcome change for German expat Felicitas Mayer. She shocked to discover that Australian homes are not often built to withstand colder temperatures.

The problem is greater with older houses, as opposed to new builds. New houses need a minimum six-star efficiency rating, while the average existing house has a two-star average.

Rental properties are worse. Retrofitting an existing house to have better insulation is expensive, especially for landlords who don’t see any financial benefit to investing in something that helps occupants who aren’t necessarily going to pay more for it.

“It is bloody freezing,” says Mayer, who lives in a house in Richmond with her Australian fiance. They have a heater in just one room, she says, which would be unheard of in northern Europe.

“It’s especially annoying because everyone keeps telling me that I should be used to it because I’m from Germany. Well, we also have proper doors without gaps, thick walls with insulation and double-glazed windows.”

Migrants from colder climates share similar stories. A 2014 survey of 120 European and North American expats, conducted by building products company CSR, found that 75 per cent of them felt Australian homes were colder than they were used to in winter.

Their sentiments may be counterintuitive but they are not unfounded, says Crawford. But it also suggests a cavalier attitude to winter.

“Because we think that the climate is not that extreme here, we tend to then think, ‘Oh, we can survive’. But it doesn’t take much less than 18 degrees to get cold, uncomfortable or sick,” Crawford says.

In summer, news reports warn about heat waves leading to health problems and even death. But there is another danger that gets far less attention.

A 2015 report published in The Lancet journal found that 0.5 per cent of deaths in Australia can be attributed to hot weather, while 6.5 per cent of deaths are related to cold exposure ??? one in 15 Australians.

The report found that that more people died of cold-related illnesses in Australia than in Sweden.

Queensland University of Technology Professor Adrian Barnett says Australia’s poor efficiency standards and indifference to cold weather is a huge public health issue.

“I think because it doesn’t kill people very obviously we kind of put up with it,” he says.

Barnett says cold weather is a silent contributor to heart attacks, strokes and respiratory issues, though it can be hard for doctors to make the connection.

“It’s just not on anybody’s radar. It just looks like you die of a normal heart attack.”

Countries with colder climates, such as Sweden, invest in warm housing because they have to, says Barnett.

“If they had houses like us they would be dropping like flies,” he says.

How do we make Australian houses warmer? Crawford says installing insulation is probably the “lowest hanging fruit”.

Environment Victoria’s Anne Martinelli says a range of government programs, such as the energy efficiency target, can help people invest in better housing, though few of these programs reach renters, many of whom are most vulnerable to poor housing conditions.

She says the answer lies in stricter efficiency regulations.

Environment Victoria has launched a campaign for the state to introduce efficiency standards for rental properties as part of the review of the Residential Tenancies Act. Martinelli says the problem will only be compounded as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable.

“It’s way passed time that this problem can be dismissed as minor or temporary,” she says. “It’s a long-term problem for a lot of people.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.