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New Melbourne suburb proves wildly popular

A new property development in Melbourne designed with an emphasis on high-tech 21st century living has proved wildly popular with buyers.

YarraBend, the mini-suburb of 2,500 homes on the the former Alphington paper mill site in Yarra, has not even been built yet, but the first two stages of townhouses were almost completely sold out in just three hours last weekend. 

Young people from Melbourne proved particularly keen to get in the queue and pay $2,000 to sign a pre-contract. The homes will not actually be ready to live in until 2018.

The new community will feature a tech concierge, electric car recharging points and even an app to tell residents how many treadmills are available to use in the local gym, The Age reports.

It is one of a number of medium-density developments being built in the Melbourne area using former industrial land. Alpha Partners and Glenville paid $120 million to Amcor in 2013 to develop the 16.5-hectare site.

Of course, while many will see modern housing as the way to go, buyers moving to Melbourne will also include many who will appreciate the many historical buildings across the metropolitan area. This character and heritage is not about to disappear, Yarra City Council mayor Amanda Stone insisted, commenting that local regeneration is about "incremental change".

She added: "There’s still those beautiful, old heritage-listed houses in large garden settings … and a lot of the streetscapes are fairly intact with that character.

"But there are pockets such as parts of the river and along Heidelberg Road where medium-density housing is starting to take off."

The last decade has seen a number of new developments in the area, but progress is being aided by the commitment of VicRoads to widen the Chandler Highway to six lanes and build a second bridge across the watercourse. This will mean new developments can take place without excessive congestion. 

Singapore-based Alpha Partners is one of a number of Asian investors involved in the Melbourne market. Earlier this month the Age reported that Chinese firm Hong Se Australia Corporation is the buyer of a $36 million former seafood plant in Ashwood, the latest of several Chinese investments worth over $400 million in total.

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