Highett’s main shopping strip has received the Mainstreet Australia Mainstreet Activation award, recognising its transformation to a vibrant hub of shopping, living and activity. Developed by Accord Property Group, Vantage Highett mixed-use development, located on the corner of Highett and Graham Roads in Melbourne, opened in mid 2013 and represents a new type of development for this part of Melbourne. The mixed-use development comprises 130 apartments and 6,000 square metres of retail space, combining a Woolworths and retail tenancies at ground level, with one and two bedroom apartments above. ClarkeHopkinsClarke architect Toby Lauchlan said the rejuvenated streetscape is at the forefront of its kind.
“For ClarkeHopkinsClarke rejuvenating streetscapes which are often seen in disrepair in suburban Melbourne, is about creating vibrant communities and injecting much needed life through design,” Mr Lauchlan said. “We set the bar high on all of our work and liaise closely with the community to deliver a shared vision and we’re glad the UDIA and Mainstreet Australia judges both recognize our collaborative efforts have helped transform another community.” Mr Lauchlan worked with local community, retailers and the developer to help bring to life this prominent site. While the site had remained vacant for years it has a rich history of use including being a market garden in the 1920s and 1930s. “By providing a welcoming and accessible retail hub for the local community, creating a vibrant and socially activated mall and streetscape, we reinvigorated local commercial opportunities,” said Mr Lauchlan.
According to Mr Lauchlan approximately 140 full time, part time and casual jobs have been generated since the center opened. “Another positive flow-on affect is the overall safety and security of residents accessing the train station and the retail strip at various times of the day,” he said. He said Highett’s mixed-use development illustrates that it is possible to strike a balance between metro and local planning objectives. “The site once had old warehouses where planes were built in the war and we now see a strip of award winning urban design,” Mr Lauchlan said. Scott McVilly, Managing Director at Accord Property Group, said that “the residences have proven to be highly marketable and sold quickly off the plan with 120 of the 130 apartments sold prior to completion.” “Since the opening of the site the supermarket has traded strongly and the retail tenancies are able to demand higher rents than originally estimated,” said James Weight, Regional Development Manager at Woolworths.