MAB launches its 13th tower in Docklands

By Simon Johanson

Private developer MAB Corporation is set to launch its 13th major apartment in Melbourne’s Docklands, a $140 million residential and office project that will complete the eastern portion of its NewQuay development.

The project, called Escala, kicks off at a time when renewal of Dockland’s northern edge is rapidly gathering pace.

The state government is developing a multi-level vertical primary school for 475 students on a neighbouring site and Sydney-based Ashe Morgan has started construction on a full-line Woolworths, fresh food complex and Hoyts cinema in nearby District Docklands, formerly known as Harbour Town.

MAB’s Escala project will include a 20-level T-shaped apartment tower with a collection of five level podium buildings at the base.

“Unlike traditional apartment buildings, the tower is a T-shape design to maximise the northern light, city and water views, as well as create more corner apartments,” MAB general manager of residential David Allt-Graham said.

MAB's Escala project in New Quay, Docklands.

MAB’s Escala project in NewQuay, Docklands. View from Rakaia Way

The building would include multiple “loft” style apartments, a proprietary idea developed by MAB that allows it to nestle one and two bedroom apartments in an overlapping formation, giving both high-ceiling living areas and lofty mezzanine interior spaces.

“One of the challenges that developers have had with double height interiors is that nobody has been able to deliver them at the right price point,” he said.

Apartments in the complex will start from $400,000 for a 51 sq m one bedroom unit rising to $1.21 million for a 132 sq m upmarket two-bedder “soho”.

Mr Allt-Graham said the complex will also include a multi-level $10 million commercial office with 2500 square metres of lettable space, also structured around the concept of interior mezzanine areas.

MAB is trying to differentiate NewQuay as a lifestyle-work community, targeting working-from-home professionals and small to medium enterprises.

“People who set up businesses here tend to stay. They just enjoy being there,” he said.

MAB has a permit for another 5000 sq m office nearby at 396 Docklands Drive but has struggled to find an anchor tenant in a market dominated by campus-style office developments closer to the nearest key transport hub, Southern Cross Station.

View of Escala from Docklands Drive

“There is going to be a natural absorption of stock closer to the station before we become attractive to larger users,” he said.

The last office MAB completed in NewQuay was an 8000 sqm strata project in its Aqua Vista development six years ago.

The developer is finishing construction on its signature Banksia tower which overlooks the harbour in the Central NewQuay precinct. It is part of a complex that houses the striking Y-shaped Four Points by Sheraton building.

Next door to Escala is the group’s recently completed Elm & Stone residence which also includes a Quest serviced apartment.

MAB, founded by brothers Michael and Andrew Buxton, was one of the first developers to launch in Docklands two decades ago when Australia’s largest urban renewal project first began.

Originally published in The Age – https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/mab-launches-its-13th-tower-in-docklands-20180315-p4z4ks.html

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