Burwood Brickworks: the new sustainable standard in Melbourne

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20 June 2018

Approval paves way for ground-breaking mixed-use community

Frasers Property: The former brickworks site in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs will be transformed into one of Australia’s most sustainable communities after Frasers Property Australia’s ambitious masterplan for the development – including 700 homes and plans for the world’s most sustainable shopping centre – received the green light.

Burwood Brickworks will inject new heart and soul into the suburb. It will integrate diverse housing choices, 2.5 hectares of open space and parklands, and community facilities including two large public spaces connected to an urban plaza adjoining a shopping centre complete with a rooftop urban farm.

More than 5,000 expressions of interest have been received for the 700 homes expected to hit the market in Spring this year. A range of freestanding and semi-detached terrace housing and apartments, and a selection of exclusive land lots, will be available.

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based Hacer Group has been appointed to build the community’s new shopping centre, with DA approval for the ground-breaking development now received from Whitehorse City Council. The first sod for the centre is to be turned on-site on June 12.

“Approval for the project has taken some time and that’s because of the complexity of what we want to achieve at Burwood Brickworks. This community will set a new benchmark for what’s possible in sustainable urban design,” says Sarah Bloom, General Manager - Residential Victoria, Frasers Property Australia.

“This project exemplifies everything we stand for: building sustainable, liveable communities that promote the long-term health and wellbeing of our residents and, especially in the case of Burwood Brickworks, for visitors too.”

The 12,700sqm Burwood Brickworks shopping centre, to be anchored by Woolworths and a proposed Dan Murphy’s, is a case in point. The centre will be a major drawcard to a catchment of some 100,000 people, with a cinema, child care centre, medical centre, health and fitness operators proposed in the tenant mix.

Frasers Property has put out the call for specialty retailers interested in setting up shop at Brickworks and is taking an open-minded approach to the retail mix. Progressive food and beverage operators are a particular target of the leasing campaign, with tenancies ranging from 25sqm to 300sqm.

“We want to hear from new and innovative concepts which fit the dining, entertainment and leisure focus for the centre. The visitor experience is a key consideration and this means an engaging mix of retailers and a vibrant dining precinct in the most comfortable environment imaginable,” says Peri Macdonald, Executive General Manager - Retail, Frasers Property Australia.

“The centre will integrate shopping, entertainment and community spaces to create a memorable place for people to have memorable experiences. There is also scope for the centre to serve an educational purpose, and with a number of schools in close proximity, this is something we will explore,” he says.

The 4,200 sqm Woolworths will offer customers everything they’ve come to expect from a full-line supermarket, but in a new flagship tenancy befitting its place in a shopping centre unlike any other.

Woolworths Senior Property Manager Brad Karge says the company is delighted to secure a key retail tenancy in the world-leading sustainability project because it closely aligns with Woolworths’ own environmental commitments.

“The new Burwood Brickworks Woolworths store will draw power from the solar panels installed in the centre and be fitted out with LED lights to reduce power usage. The store’s refrigeration and air-conditioning will generate a reduced carbon footprint and use natural refrigerants, and we will also have an area in-store where customers can bring in their soft plastics to be recycled,” Mr Karge says.

“The new Burwood Brickworks Woolworths will provide local residents with a modern and exciting shopping experience while continuing to deliver great prices on products, a vibrant fresh food offer and the convenience our customers are looking for.”

Meanwhile, the response to the Expressions of Interest campaign for commercial parties to operate the rooftop urban farm at Burwood Brickworks has been very strong, with over 50 responses received. The project team is in negotiations with the shortlisted operators to target a mid-year engagement.

In a major boost to the local economy, the mixed-use project is expected to create almost 3,000 new jobs, including more than 700 ongoing jobs in the shopping centre.

The first residential lots, medium-density housing options and apartments are expected to be completed in late 2020, with the retail centre expected to be completed by late 2019.

Creating a ‘Living Building’

Frasers Property is aiming to make Burwood Brickworks shopping centre the first retail development in the world to achieve Living Building Challenge certification, which includes targets such as generating more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. A mix of on-site rooftop solar PV and off-site renewable energy, utilising the latest in battery storage, will generate 105% of the energy required for the building.

Building fabric measures such as insulated high-quality glazing will reduce energy demand, and a centralised air-conditioning system servicing all tenancies will reduce and re-purpose waste heat, resulting in more efficient operating costs. The highly specialised water system will capture, treat and re-use all rain and waste water, resulting in net positive water use and reduced reliance on the stormwater and sewer systems.

Materials conservation in construction and occupation will result in a net positive waste outcome, with strict protocols in place to re-purpose up to 99% of construction waste away from landfill. Use of local, salvaged and sustainable materials will deliver better air quality, further reducing the centre’s carbon footprint.

The biophilic design includes an abundance of greenery, natural daylight and fresh air throughout the centre via a sawtooth style roof to fulfil visitors’ desire to connect with nature and create an environment which encourages longer dwell times and return visitation.

Tenants may choose to participate in the embedded energy network at Burwood Brickworks, which will offer best-in-market rates for use of the renewable electricity and thermal energy generated on-site.

The approximate cost of the sustainability initiatives in isolation is approximately $14 million, athough the commercial returns are expected to more than justify this investment.

“We will demonstrate that developing a net positive sustainable shopping centre – one that gives more than it takes from its environment – is not only commercially viable, but preferable. The aim is to create a more comfortable centre to visit, designed to encourage people to stay, and it follows that with increased dwell times comes greater expenditure,” Mr Macdonald says.

Provision has been made for a 100sqm community space to run programs as well as annual open days to educate the community on the unique aspects of Burwood Brickworks shopping centre.

The shopping centre has been designed by Melbourne-based NH Architecture and Managing Director Roger Nelson say the architectural approach re-imagines the site’s history “by utilising the concept of a ‘re-purposed’ factory shed as the foundation element in form and spirit.’’

“The honest use of expressed structure and raw materiality is part of a typology that is reminiscent of the various established markets around Melbourne. To us, this project meant an opportunity to be part of the solutions, to be a catalyst for changing behaviour. So in a way, it is attempting to look at what the future has to hold for projects in our built environment with regards to materials, energy, water and waste,” he says.

Frasers Property is targeting 6 Star Green Star Design and As-Built ratings for Burwood Brickworks shopping centre, which will be an Australian retail first.

The Burwood Brickworks mixed-use community is being designed to achieve a 6 Star Green Star Communities rating, with approximately 500 new trees to be dotted throughout the civic plaza, open spaces, landscaped reserves, neighbourhood parks and pedestrian greenways
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Source:  Frasers Property - www.frasersproperty.com.au

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