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Poly will build a commercial project at the residential site in Richmond

February 11, 2019

Townhouse no more. The old render of the residential project that Poly Australia had for Richmond Hill. Photo: Artisan Architects

Developer Poly Australia has switched another Melbourne development site into a commercial project after facing opposition from residents over a proposed townhouse project.

Poly will convert its 2047 square metre site at 150-152 Bridge Road and 1-3 Allowah Terrace in Richmond into a commercial development but has not decided on its final form.

Poly’s executive director in Victoria, Steve Wang, shrugged off the abandoned residential plans saying that staying flexible would keep the company’s projects in good stead.

The company is still toying with several ideas including a medical facility given the site’s 200-metre distance to one of Victoria’s biggest private hospital, Epworth Richmond. Offices are also being considered.

Poly bought the site for $16 million in 2016.

Second change

This is not the first time Poly has changed plans on its Melbourne sites. In Docklands, it converted the site at 1000 La Trobe Street to a 24-storey office building from a 600-unit residential tower in late 2017.

It also plans to push ahead with the development of that tower without a pre-commitment from a major tenant, banking on the tight office vacancy in the Melbourne CBD.

Offices worked out to be better for the area which was fast moving away from apartments, prompting the group to rethink its strategy and becoming more “agile” , Mr Wang said. Poly’s deep balance sheet enables it to easily forgo short-term profit turnaround in residential projects, over longer ones with commercial developments, he adds.

“Moving forward, we would talk first with the community before going ahead. We can be flexible to suit our 60 per cent residential and 40 per cent office strategy,” he said.

Being agile was also key to the current housing downturn which could offer random buying opportunities, Mr Wang added.

“This is the golden age. If you look at established developers, they restock during this time when the market is bad,” he said.

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