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MAB Corporation announces billion dollar development, University Hill, Bundoora

MAB Corporation announces a billion dollar mixed-use development that will be delivered in Bundoora as a 10 year staged project that will redefine living and working in the northern corridor of Melbourne.

Named University Hill, the development will generate over 3,500 jobs for the people who live in the City of Whittlesea, with over 1,500 jobs already ear-marked with pre-committed projects.

Managing Director for MAB Corporation, Mr Andrew Buxton said that University Hill will set new standards in urban development and MAB has set out to create a unique and sustainable community that will allow people to work, live and play all within one localised environment.

“University Hill will be a master planned community over a 104 hectare site that has defined activity areas that have come together to provide a complete community”, Mr Buxton said.

“It will essentially create a city within a city adding vitality, jobs and a new lifestyle for the north.

“Planning of the site has been achieved through a collaborative approach with the City of Whittlesea and a MAB Specialist Development Team that have been focused on creating a product that will aspire to international best design benchmarks for urban communities.

“It was also important that the development recognised the surrounding knowledge precincts with RMIT and La Trobe Universities neighbouring the site and this has also been reflected in naming the site University Hill.”

The concept framework for University Hill was developed to identify the natural environment as a key driver for the land-use and allowed for the urban and existing natural areas to co-exist. The urban area will move into the natural areas and will follow the landscape rather than working against them with the result of creating an urban and environmental integration in the overall delivery.

This approach will also be applied to the formation of roads, paths and cycle ways with the natural flowing formation of the Plenty River providing the inspiration for the forms and curves that will be evident in the physical infrastructure design.

“An important design consideration for University Hill has been the emphasis on the environment and on-going sustainability on the integrated features and land use,” Mr Buxton said.

BUILT ON FIVE DISTINCT USAGES

University Hill has been built on five distinct usages that have been designed to integrate with each other to deliver one coherent community. The five distinct usages are defined as:

• retail;
• lifestyle;
• business;
• community; and,
• environment.

RETAIL
University Hill will feature a street-based town centre that will be the economic and lifestyle hub of the development and an inner city main street shopping and entertainment environment in the style of some of Melbourne’s most famous shopping streets will be created.

“We are creating a vibrant and exciting town centre that people will be able to participate in and enjoy 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mr Buxton said.

A feature of the town centre will be a major brand outlet concept store named Brand Junction which will feature up to 60 leading brand names across fashion; footwear; homewares; sporting; and lifestyle retail categories.

Brand Junction will also be supported by a cosmopolitan main street offering, convenience shopping and a leisure and entertainment precinct that will include a range of leisure related retail outlets combined with restaurants, cafes and bars.

“The town centre development will be delivered in two stages with stage one commencing in early 2006,” Mr Buxton said.

“It will also include a supermarket and a range of specialty stores and 1,000 free car parking spaces.

“Stage two has been planned to include a selection of cafe’s, restaurants, a second supermarket and a cinema complex.

“A town square will also be a feature of the town centre providing people with a community meeting place.

“Overall, the town centre will well and truly position University Hill as a destination and preferred living and working environment in Melbourne’s north.”

Retail Facts
• Will consist of 10.5 hectares.
• Will employ up to 1,400 people once it reaches full development.
• Master Plan to create up to 30,000 square metres of retail, leisure, and restaurant floorspace.
• Will be the first Greenfield main-street developed in Melbourne in the last 20 years.

LIFESTYLE
The residential product that will be developed at University Hill will include a range of town houses, apartments, student accommodation and high quality detached housing.

“Utilising the latest design and creativity in residential development, the medium density residential options will be developed to create a community village lifestyle,” Mr Buxton said.

“The residential component will feature a mix of high quality medium density residential apartments, townhouses and student housing that will all be in walking distance from the Town Centre and public transport systems.

“One of the most unique features of the medium density residential options will be the utiisation of the existing heritage buildings that formulate part of the history of the site.

“These will be developed as high quality residential apartments that will be very distinct in design and setting.

“Part of their uniqueness will be their setting amongst expansive lawns and mature elms, oaks, eucalypts and red gums which is also an example of how the natural features and environment are integrating well with the development.”

Key features of the medium density residential options will include:

• 1,000 medium density homes made up of:
– 1,2 & 3 bedroom apartments over two and three levels;
– high quality townhouses;
– heritage building refurbished apartments; and
– product developed specifically to cater for the investor market to include student accommodation and rental product.
• Minimum of three different product types will be on the market mid 2006.
 
“Another distinct residential option is the detached housing that will aspire to achieve the highest standard in architectural design,” Mr Buxton said.
 
“Around 500 new homes will be developed incorporating the latest urban design principles providing an exciting master planned environment with extensive landscaping whilst taking advantage of the uninterrupted views of the Plenty Gorge and distant ranges.

“Many lots will experience magnificent views across the Plenty Gorge and parkland creating a strong connection to the natural environment while giving residents all the conveniences and luxuries of city life.

“Our planning has included studies into a variety of housing developments throughout Australia and abroad to ensure the product we provide reaches the highest standards and will provide something exciting and innovative for our new residents.

Key features of the neighbourhood residential option will be:
• 500 home sites;
• development will commence from July 2006 and will be released over a five year period;
• lots will range from 200 square metres to up to 750 plus square meters;
• architectural designs will reflect the latest in contemporary design; and,
• extensive parks and trails will be integrated into the estate.

Residential and Lifestyle Facts
• Medium density residential product will consist of approximately 18 hectares. • Detached housing residential product will total 44 hectares.
• Will employ over 200 people once it reaches full development.
• Will ultimately cater for up to 1,500 homes and approximately 4,000 residents.

BUSINESS
University Hill will also be the home to leading corporations and businesses. A state-of-the-art business park environment will be built in two locations in the planned community. These will be located at both the northern and southern points of the development.

“Working with the City of Whittlesea and the Victorian Government, we have already secured pre-commitments from leading organisations that will generate approximately 600 jobs alone for the City,” Mr Buxton said.

“The environment has been designed to attract multi-national headquarters, offices to suit the medium to small business requirements, high tech manufacturing, warehousing and showrooms.

“Its location on the major northern arterials of Plenty Road and the Metropolitan Ring Road gives the business community a significant location advantage with easy access to the City and Melbourne Airport.

“Passing traffic on Plenty Road is currently 60,000 vehicles per day which provides a significant opportunity for businesses that require a visual location.”

The University Hill business park will be differentiated from other metropolitan locations by its integration into a wider master planned community providing amenity unsurpassed by any other business park in Melbourne.

“Connection with the extensive parkland and pathway networks provides employees located in the business park with pleasant surrounds to relax during lunch breaks and seek relief from the day to day of business,” Mr Buxton said.

“Developing quality and innovation of business parks in Melbourne has been a core competency of MAB since its inception in 1995.

Business Park Facts
• Business Park areas will total 20 hectares.
• Will employ over 2,000 people.
• Development of the business park site commenced in October 2005.

COMMUNITY
Maintaining a strong sense of community has been a key consideration in the development process of University Hill. It will be a place where the community can meet friends, gather, work, live, shop, dine out and simply relax.

“University Hill is designed to welcome the community by providing a safe environment for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike,” Mr Buxton said.

“Members of the community can spend a day walking, bike riding, dining out in one of the many cafes and restaurants, shopping or simply relaxing in the extensive reserves and parks.

“A medical centre, community centre and a child care centre are some of the services proposed to meet the community’s needs.”

Community Fact
• Parks and reserves total in excess of 12 hectares.
• Over 10 kilometres of designated bike paths, walking and bike trails extend throughout the estate and adjacent parkland.
• Community activity centre will provide a location for community members to meet and spend time over shared interests.

ENVIRONMENT
The integration of the environment and natural features has been integral to the development of University Hill. One of the most significant environmental features will be the opening up of the Plenty Gorge and surrounding parkland for people to enjoy.

“As soon as MAB took ownership of the site we undertook an extensive investigation to determine the opportunities and constraints in respect to flora and fauna and historical considerations,” Mr Buxton said.

“With the investigation complete we then ensured the solutions determined were practical and sustainable. “Conservation and the natural environment have always been a priority to MAB in the planning of University Hill.

“As part of our Flora and Fauna Management Strategy every tree on the site was logged and its species, size and respective health recorded.

“With this information in hand and by involving the relevant authorities at the earliest possible stages we were able to provide a Management Plan that resulted in a net gain of native vegetation across the site.

“Storm water will be treated to ensure water quality via a network of wetlands, swails and retarding basins all landscaped to provide a natural enhancement to the surrounding environment.”

Environment Facts
• Net Gain of native vegetation has been achieved across the site in accordance with the Native Vegetation Management Framework.
• Extensive Management Plans have been developed to ensure an appropriate response to historical, archaeological, flora and fauna, and water quality issues.

UNIVERSITY HILL KEY FACTS
 
• The site is a landholding of 104 hectares located 18 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD.
• The site was identified as a Specialised Activity Centre in the Victorian Government’s Metropolitan Strategy Melbourne 2030.
• University Hill is located on the two major arterials of Plenty Road and the Metropolitan Ring Road that provides direct access to Melbourne’s CBD, Melbourne Airport and other parts of Melbourne.
• The site, once developed, will consist of 15 kilometres of road ways.
• University Hill will generate over 3,500 new jobs.