Elm & Stone Rental Campaign Hits the Mark

On Saturdays in early March queues formed around MAB’s latest building, Elm & Stone, as perspective tenants waited eagerly to see inside. We spoke to Director of Lucas Real Estate, Dylan Emmett, to find out why Elm & Stone has proven so popular.

“The tenant response to Elm & Stone was amazing,” said Mr Emmett. “We had over 450 tenants enquire over 4 opens.” He attributes the success of the campaign to many things, including the quality of this building. “Seeing the finished product in Elm & Stone really speaks for itself — it feels good and is a stand-out building in our market,” said Mr Emmett.

The DKO design features one and two bedroom loft apartments with 4.5m ceilings and a flexible loft space that could be used as a home office or second living space. These apartment types are a first for Docklands and combined with concrete ceilings, track lighting and balcony planter boxes, Elm & Stone is certainly appealing to a design conscious market.

Another major key to success was the marketing campaign, which saw the entire building promoted, rather than individual apartments. It encouraged tenants to visit the building and find the right apartment for their needs rather than select an apartment based on the details listed. It was this approach that saw all of Lucas Real Estate’s one bedroom apartments leased before settlement with yields of over 5%. “The entry point of the rental market is really flying,” Mr Emmett said, “we have a waiting list for one bedrooms apartments”. Even those after two bedroom apartments are opting for two bed, one bathroom configurations and choosing to forgo the additional bathroom to save on rent.

All of this, is good news for investors. While much of the media reports a downturn in the Melbourne property market, Mr Emmett reports that Docklands has remained relatively stable, “we haven’t had the rise and fall of other suburbs,” he said. And with around 80% of Lucas Real Estate’s sales to owner occupiers there is a scarcity of rentals in the area.

The majority of tenants at Elm & Stone are in their late 20s and are CBD-based professionals. According to Mr Emmett, many of the tenants for Elm & Stone have just moved to Melbourne from interstate and overseas, many of them working on Melbourne’s major infrastructure projects such as the Metro Tunnel and Westgate Tunnel. Others are Melbourne locals making the move from nearby apartments in the CBD or Southbank.

The proximity to the city is an obvious drawcard for NewQuay but tenants have also been attracted new and continually improving amenity in the area. Previously, entertainment, dining and shopping options had been limited but the redevelopment of The District Docklands shopping centre has contributed to a significant change throughout the precinct. The addition of an eight screen HOYTS cinema, expanded dining precinct and fashion giants H&M and Uniqlo (coming soon). The end of 2019 will also welcome Market Lane including a 3850sqm Woolworths, and other specialty food offerings.

Lucas predicts that the rental market in NewQuay will become even tighter in the years ahead.  “There is less stock coming through and the attraction of NewQuay keeps growing, so I think we can expect a record lease-up when MAB’s next project, Escala, completes in 2021”.

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