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23.11.2016

Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne sets CBD rules for Melbourne

Developers will be allowed to build taller apartment towers in Melbourne’s CBD as long as they provide “public amenities” including office space as the city council seeks to maintain the city’s commercial core. Melbourne’s move to control CBD development comes as Sydney also pushes back against a takeover of the central city by a flood of high-rise apartment towers. Danni Addison, chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, a lobby group, said the new rules for the Melbourne CBD were “a very blunt tool” but had enough flexibility “to negotiate outcomes on a site by site basis”. Victoria’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne has now made permanent a set of interim development rules for central Melbourne introduced last year. The new rules were tightened further in April this year, setting a plot ratio of 18:1 to limit the extent of development that can be achieved over an individual city site. In the final form of the rules, Mr Wynne has retained a key provision which allows developers to exceed that limit on density if they can meet guidelines on so-called public…

Australia News

23.11.2016

Hashching creates virtual ID system for first fully-digital loan approvals

Hashching, a website for home buyers to choose mortgage brokers, has built the first fully-digital process for home loan verification in Australia, which would allow banks to comply with strict regulations for identifying clients without having to send them to a branch. This weekend, Hashching, which has processed $2.6 billion of mortgages since launching 15 months ago, will begin the pilot for a biometric identity verification service allowing brokers on its platform to satisfy strict “know your client” (KYC) banking regulations by asking a customer on a video call to hold up a proof of identity to the camera on their computer or mobile phone. Across the banking industry, KYC verification for mortgages – designed to prevent money laundering by criminals – is still conducted with in-person meetings; customers either have to travel into a branch or receive a visit from a bank or broker representative. This delays the process and can be intrusive. Hashching co-founder Mandeep Sodhi said he will soon begin discussions with major banks to attempt to change their bureaucratic internal processes that have created a tick-a-box compliance…

Australia News

17.11.2016

Haven’t they heard about the Apex gang? Expats say Melbourne is the world’s best place to live and work

Expats have named Melbourne as the best city to live and work in the world. More than 14,000 people from nearly 200 countries took part in InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, voting in Australia’s second biggest city Melbourne as the favorite location for expats. ‘Not only are expats apparently happier in Melbourne, but they are more satisfied with their personal finances,’ Vera Grossman from InterNations told Escape.  Cafe culture and shopping were big factors in Melbourne’s popularity. Just over half of those surveyed said they enjoyed the leisure activities on offer In comparison, expats in Sydney said they were unhappy with their financial situation in the city  However, they loved the local weather and the friendly attitude from locals.  Sydney ranked in eighth on the survey, behind cities such as Houston, Texas which placed second and Madrid in Spain, which came in third. But nothing could top Melbourne, where 79 per cent of expats said they were generally happy with the work-life balance in the city. The city was placed third in the world for job satisfaction, where seven in 10 workers were generally happy with their…

Australia News

17.11.2016

Hotel Windsor to offer $20,000-a-night penthouses

Two three-level penthouses costing $20,000 a night will be the crown jewels in the Halim Group’s $350 million redevelopment of the 133-year-old Hotel Windsor into Melbourne’s first six-star hotel. One of these will be a massive 745 square metre presidential penthouse, which will sit atop the new glitzy 26-storey tower that will be built behind the existing heritage building on Spring Street. The addition of the new tower, part of a $200 million building contract for Obayashi Corporation and Built, will add almost 100 rooms to the grand, but crumbling hotel, taking the number of suites to 279. Construction will commence early next year with completion at the end of 2019. The Halim family, which bought the hotel in 2005, had threatened to close it down if they were not granted an extension to a 2010 building permit. This was finally granted in March this year by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Windsor director Adi Halim said the project would restore the hotel to one of the great Victorian-era hotels and meet the demand created by the growing inbound…

Australia News

17.11.2016

RICHARD BRANSON’S NEW JET WILL FLY SYDNEY TO LA IN 3.5 HOURS

How amazing will this be??? Richard Branson has unveiled the prototype of his new supersonic jet, and to say it’ll ‘really fly’ is an understatement! The billionaire’s Virgin company has got together with an American start up company called Boom to build a fleet of supersonic jets which could reach speeds of up to 2335km/h and potentially shave NINE HOURS off a Sydney to Los Angeles trip. Said Branson: “I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. “Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.” Nicknamed the “Baby Boom”, is jet is set to be “the fastest civil aircraft ever made”, and will have 40 seats in two rows, with tickets expected to cost around $AU6620. Source: http://www.mix106.com.au/lifestyle/travel/richard-bransons-new-jet-will-fly-sydney-to-la-in-35-hours

Australia News

16.11.2016

Australia’s most sustainable housing estate launched

The first lots in a new housing estate in Melbourne’s south-east that claims to be the country’s most energy and water efficient will be offered for sale this month by Villawood Properties and South East Water. The private developer and state utility have collaborated on Aquarevo, a $260 million project that will transform a 42-hectare decommissioned water purification plant in Lyndhurst, about 35 kilometres from the city, into a 460-lot development. Each house built on the estate will use rainwater and high-quality recycled sewerage water to reduce demand for drinking water by up to 70 per cent – the equivalent of 1.2 million showers – while energy consumption will be reduced through solar panelling on the roof. In addition all homes will be built with the capability to be connected to new rechargeable battery technologies and with recharge points for electric cars. Villawood director Rory Costelloe said the water and energy initiatives being used at Aquarevo could be replicated at other developments including in more remote locations. “We believe that this project will serve as a standout example of effective…

Australia News

15.11.2016

Should you make an offer before the auction?

Listing volumes have been remarkably shallow this spring; we’re at levels one might expect in a depressed market in which little is selling, so everyone is sitting on the sidelines. But the circumstances are at the other end of the scale in Sydney and Melbourne: auction clearance rates are regularly posting over 80 per cent, sometimes half-a-dozen bidders are fighting hard for a modest single-fronted cottage in a less fashionable suburb and the winner is paying $100,000 more than the recorded price of comparable properties sold just 12 months before. I’m not sure conditions could be better for a prospective vendor. Nevertheless, it seems four years of a rising market have exhausted the pool, and we may have to wait until autumn 2017 before numbers are replenished. On the flip side, buyers in these markets are having a tough time. It’s bad enough that they have to pay more to secure an asset, but it is perhaps even more dispiriting – and concerning – to have so little choice in the first instance. I say “concerning” because it increases the risk…

Australia News

13.11.2016

Walker gains key approval for $900m Adelaide project

Billionaire developer Lang Walker and the South Australian government have passed a key hurdle in their $900 million plan to redevelop Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. On Thursday the Development Assessment Commission of South Australia recommended approval for Walker Corporation’s plan for a $500 million office tower, with retail and parking, on the site. The new tower will be a major component of the Adelaide Festival Plaza project, which will also include a new square and other public spaces, a new entry to the Adelaide Railway Station, a $90 million upgrade to the Adelaide Festival Centre and the expansion of the SKYCITY Casino. South Australia’s Housing and Urban Development Minister Stephen Mulligan said the redevelopment would turn one of the city’s premier locations from a long-neglected space to a revitalised focal point for the city. The precinct will link Adelaide’s premier Riverbank attractions such as the Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Festival Centre and the Adelaide Casino. “Once it is complete, the Festival Plaza will be a space for all South Australians to meet for festivals and events, before and after sporting events…

Australia News

08.11.2016

NSW government announces $250 million Sydney Fish Market

The NSW government is building a new $250 million Sydney Fish Market and replacing the old building in Pyrmont with a new mixed use residential development. The new 35,000 sq m market – double the size of the current property – will be built on an adjacent site to the market, which is leased to building materials manufacturer Hanson. Hanson’s lease ends at the end of the year but the NSW transformation arm UrbanGrowth, which is undertaking the project as part of its Bays Precinct project, said it would extend the lease by another 12 months until construction begins around 2018. The new market will have 15,500 sq m of seafood retail space – compared with the current 6582 sq m – and outdoor dining for 3000 patrons as well as a possible rooftop bar. Moving the site was necessary to create a new master plan for the tourist magnet – 20 per cent of the three million visitors to the market are tourists – according to a report by Deloitte Access Economics. Advertisement “The original market was a wholesale…

Australia News

07.11.2016

Future Melbourne: $305m push for exhibition centre expansion

A $305 MILLION redevelopment will transform the city’s convention and exhibition centre into the nation’s biggest and boost the Victorian economy. Anew space at South Wharf will bring the centre’s total size to more than 70,000sq m, while a 331-room hotel and multi-deck carpark will also feature in the development. The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, which includes “Jeff’s Shed”, presently generates an estimated $960 million for the state economy every year, but this is expected to rise to $1.5 billion by 2026. It has hosted 86 national and international conventions and 78 exhibitions in the past year. The expansion is expected to see an extra 74,000 international visitors to the centre a year. MCEC chief executive Peter King said the vision was to create a vibrant events and entertainment destination. “This exciting new addition incorporates a range of spaces for events of all types and sizes,” he said. “We’ve listened carefully to our customers to deliver a greater choice of meeting rooms, and have worked hard to design adaptable but inspiring spaces so we can provide more of what…

Australia News

07.11.2016

Why driverless cars could become a terror threat to Melbourne

AUTOMATIC self-driving cars, which will be seen on the streets in Melbourne in the coming decades, could be sabotaged and used as weapon by terrorists. Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour warned smartcars being developed by companies such as Google could be exploited by criminals, including extremists, to wreak havoc. Police fear terrorists could get a driverless car, pack it with explosives, pre-program it, then days later from the other side of the world use a computer to activate the vehicle along a course to a specific target. “While advances in technology will present significant opportunities and revolutionise aspects of our everyday lives, it will also present significant challenges to police,” Mr Jabbour said. “Driverless vehicles could be exploited by criminals, including terrorists, to be pre-programmed to carry out criminal acts.” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he believed the advent of the self-driving car would ultimately save lives. Most fatal car crashes are caused by driver error, a factor which would be eradicated by the new technology. The driving future has arrived “In the world of transport…

03.11.2016

Agents await surge of US buyers following Donald Trump’s victory at the polls

The shock win by US presidential candidate Donald Trump is expected to increase demand for Australia’s expensive homes in the short term as agents ready themselves for an uptick in inquiry from US nationals.           But longer term the threat of a trade war between the US and China could see interest in Australia’s homes go either way, warned AMP chief economist Shane Oliver.          Overnight Ken Jacobs, of Christie’s International, fielded email inquiries on prestige homes from a few buyers based on the east and west coast of the US. “In the lead-up to this election the level of inquiry on property from buyers in the US has been building steadily,” said Jacobs.  “We expect this to be a repeat of what happened immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. In the aftermath of that inquiry levels from the US went up 400 per cent.” Australian property does well in times of global uncertainty because it is seen as a safe place to do business, it has an economy that is not as volatile…

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