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What sold out a new residential building in one of the hottest spots in St Kilda was not its benchmarking embedded energy efficiencies that sheet back cost-savings to the body corporate and therefore the residents, but, admit the developers upfront, “it’s the location”.

That’s a no-brainer. For the nine-level, 151 apartment building – known as “181” because that’s the address – has a long north-facing frontage to Fitzroy Street, opposite Junction Oval.

And that means “never to be built out” views to Albert Park and the city. But that’s just one of the brochure boasts that became redundant virtually as soon as news of Pace Development Group’s “lifestyle destination” project got around three years ago.

“The building,” according to PDG’s operations manager, Ian Burke, “sold itself, and quickly”.

Indeed, aside from being on the ever-gentrifying boulevard that’s becoming Melbourne’s mini version of New York’s Park Avenue; the high end design courtesy of S.J.B Architects – for the building, and Carr Interiors – for the fitout, it was a high representation of property industry insiders who lined up to pay from $425,000 for one-bedroom units to $1.7 million for three-bedroom penthouses.

One buyer combined two penthouses, and another was one of Pace’s corporate bosses, which is quite the endorsement considering how many buildings the company has in creation around the town.

Location was the biggest drawcard for many buyers.

The brochure images of the rooftop’s infinity swimming pool and the building’s reverse outlook, over the entire southern bayside, are also virtually superfluous marketing tools now, given that only five apartments came back onto the market after the December settlement, and that only two of those remain to be resold.

And though the photographs show a movie-worthy setting, they don’t do justice to the pool and barbecue deck’s 360-degree panorama that makes the viewing platform possibly the best of any residential building in Melbourne. And I’ve seen a few. Yet outlook and irresistible market appeal is not all we are here to discuss about this revolutionary building.

The pool and barbecue deck’s 360-degree panorama make its possibly the best of any residential building in Melbourne. Photo: Jonathan Bermann

Aside from the to-be-shared red and electric-powered four wheel drive vehicle charging up in the basement garage and belonging to the body corp, 181’s energy performance marks, the developers believe, the first occasion in which a network provider, Origin, was roped in from the get-go to help Pace build in now invisible attributes that, according to Ian Burke, “was about getting the best energy and financial pay-offs for our end users, the tenants”.

With photo voltaic panel capacity, half of the power used for the common area lighting and for charging the electric car is coming in free of charge.

Only five apartments came back onto the market after the December settlement.

With Pace negotiating highly competitive bulk energy buy in rates with Origin, Origin’s Stuart Osbourne says “having gas hot water, gas cooking and electricity all supplied as part of a centralized energy really benefits the residents.”

While such a close working partnership is a novelty, and while Pace says it did have appeal to 181 buyers interested in lower costs and lower carbon footprints, Osbourne says such value-adding energy initiatives in the context of multi-residential buildings are still very much in their infancy.

The ever-gentrifying boulevard is fast becoming Melbourne’s mini version of New York’s Park Avenue. Photo: Jonathan Bermann

“But the energy market is moving so fast at the moment that while the development of battery storage for a building like this is a work in progress, it’s evolving.

“Energy autonomy for large buildings,” he adds, “is a way off but we keep moving closer to greater and greater efficiencies because there are so many more renewable things that we’ll be able to do.”

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

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