Situated on the corner of Roberts and Rokeby road and positioned literally on top of the Subiaco train station the ‘L’ shaped lot parcel with a maximum width of 20 meters on each leg would in most projects be a big problem. For this project is was the easiest part of the challenge to solve.
Every millimeter of the site needed to be used to give the project any chance of a descent ROI. Unfortunately, height restrictions within the Subiaco precinct restricted the project to 3 levels. This meant the carpark needed to go underground.
Given the prime commercial position of the project, ground floor was always going to be commercial tenancies leaving the top two levels for residential. The potential development mix would be 10 commercial tenancies and 52 apartments.
This looked good on paper until a ‘Will it Fly‘ assessment was completed only to uncover a few show stoppers such as:
- The limited basement car park was unable to provide the number of carbays required for both commercial and residential components within the project.
- Onerous acoustic requirements given the project was literally located within 1 meter of the train tunnel.
- The size of the project in combination with the requirement to fire separate the two building classification types (Class 6 for commercial tenancies and Class 2 for Apartments) attracted extensive and expensive fire safety measures.
The delivery costs of these three issues alone severely compromised the projects feasibility. This called for some ‘outside of the box’ thinking. This is what we did:
With 52 apartments able to be developed this represented a good amount of leverage on the land parcel and with the market trending strongly upwards offered the best ROI compared to the commercial tenancies. A decision was made to protect and increase the quality of the residential component where ever possible.
The prime commercial location of the building parcel meant the City of Subiaco was open to discussing a cash-in-lieu arrangement for the shortfall in commercial car bays. Negotiations resulted in only half of the car bays required to be provided. The full complement of car bays were provided to the residences which meant all 52 apartments could be created.
The onerous acoustic requirements for the project were never going to be avoided so the decision was made to embrace and then up go way beyond the minimum requirements. Why do this?
The projects profit was sitting in the 52 apartments that could now be created because of the car bay negotiations. Removing the acoustic challenge altogether strengthened the perceived market value of the apartments. Acoustic testing at completion of the project revealed the quality of acoustic controls were so good you could record music within any of the apartments.
The size of the fire compartments and the requirement to separate the two building classes suggested multiple fire walls / doors and sprinklers throughout the entire building. Very expensive! and with long term maintenance costs.
The residential apartments and the building services cores were space planned in such a way that fire compartments were created without the need for expensive separation which in turn minimised escape travel distances.
This made the provision of an alternate fire engineered solution a very easy proposition to negotiate with authorities. The construction cost savings far outweighed the cost to provide this solution.
Orchestrating the balancing act for this project resulted in the sale of all 52 apartments in a little over a week for the developer.