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Green Luxe: Parkland Meets the Waterfront at Banksia

As published in The Sunday Age, 23 August 2015. 

An opulent new Docklands development pays homage to the beauty of Australian native flora, writes Tara Kenny.

Faced with a vast,concrete space on the edge of Victoria Harbour within Dockland’s NewQuay precinct,not many developers would immediately envisage lush parkland – but MAB Corporation is not like other developers.

“The space was so unique that it demanded something spectacular,”recalls David Allt-Graham, general manager of residential at MAB Corporation.

Called Banksia, MAB’s latest luxury residential development was originally an overwhelmingly large concrete block located right on the waterfront.

“There was always going to be a building constructed to act as a visual marker,” Allt-Graham says.”There were suggestions of a gallery, or even a Vegemite museum, neither of which came to fruition. we immediately felt that the space needed to be transformed into a massive green park.” In the end, the team came up with something only slightly less quintessentially Australian than a Vegemite factory.

It is inspired by the native Australian wildflower banksia and the design reflects the relationship between the building and its surrounding parklands.

These were designed by Aspect landscape architects and will predominantly feature native species.

Beyond referencing the building’s immediate physical environment, MAB’s choice of name reflects their desire to avoid the Australian tendency to define local apartments in relation to “New York style studio lofts”or other international developments.

Allt-Graham points out that MAB is a “generational”Melbourne property business that is immensely proud of its home city.

“We work with the best designers that Melbourne has to offer, such as McBride Charles Ryan architects, who we are partnering with on Banksia following the success of the multi-award winning The Quays,”he says.”We don’t need to pay homage to far-off places to be exceptional.” Banksia’s exceptional design does not end at its spectacular facade. Beyond this, the developers were keen to ensure the project’s 108 apartments perform as practical and comfortable homes.

“We wanted people to be able to personalise their living spaces, so we designed four distinct interior styles: Organic, Expressive, Blackened Silver and White and Gold,”Allt-Graham says.”These interiors are not restricted to colours and finishes, but extend to the way the joinery is put together and reflect how different people will use the spaces.” As well as a level of creative control rarely seen within the luxury apartment market, Banksia residents will have panoramic waterfront views, generous entertaining areas, master bedroom en suites, walk-in wardrobes, balconies and basement parking located underneath the parklands, which is uncommon within the Docklands.

Sky-home and penthouse apartments feature a dedicated lift, separate laundry with in-built appliances, butler’s kitchen with a wine fridge and caterer’s cooking facilities, lock-up garages, piano room, fireplace, separated living areas with their own outdoor terraces and en suites overlooking the water.

All residents will have access to a shared rooftop bar, barbecue and outdoor dining areas, music lounge, spa, infinity wading pool and plunge pools.

While construction is set to begin in late 2016 and completion is estimated for early 2018, 65 per cent of Banksia’s apartments have already sold, just six weeks after their retail launch.

Apartments and sky-homes are still available priced from $505,000 to $2,750,000.

The Banksia display suite is now open and located at 24 NewQuay Promenade, Docklands. Interested buyers wishing to visit the display suite can make an appointment by contacting MAB Corporation on 1300 137 590 or by visiting banksianewquay.com.au