Urban.com.au - Oz Property’s latest project in Wantirna
Oz Property’s Scott Williams and Raghav Goel discuss their latest project in Wantirna
Known for their aptitude for bespoke design and a focus on environmental sustainability, Oz Property are soon to embark on yet another exciting development, this time in Victoria’s leafy suburb of Wantirna.
Recently, we caught up with Oz Property’s Sales and Communications Manager, Scott Williams, and Oz Property Director, Raghav Goel, ahead of the project’s launch, to find out more about what’s on the cards for the luxury townhome development.
Urban: Tell us about your newly acquired site in Wantirna.
Raghav Goel: We recently agreed to purchase the old Wantirna Heights School site located on Kingloch Parade. It’s a strategic site, as there’s not much land left in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, certainly not such large parcels anyway.
Scott Williams: The site was a central point of the community for over 40 years. The school actually included the neighbouring Schultz Reserve as well (now a park and local football club). There are a number beautiful old trees filled with native birdlife singing away, which really enhances that leafy suburban atmosphere.
U: Oz Property Group’s latest three developments are all beautiful, luxury townhomes with an industrial aesthetic. Is this a design trend which is likely to extend to your Wantirna development?
RG: Wantirna has a completely different historical context to our recent inner-city developments. The suburb boomed in the 60’s and 70’s with lots of architect-designed project homes in a mid-century modern style, so we’re doing lots of research into that. We have a soft spot for modernist architecture and I dare say so do our architects, so it’s more likely to be in that direction.
SW: Encouragingly some of the early community survey results have also supported that connection.
U: What secrets can you let our Urban property seekers in on about your plans for this development?
SW: While it’ still early days, the proposal is for 51 homes and most are 4 bedrooms. These include a majority being single or double-storey.
A key element of the proposal is a blue-green spine through the central part of the site. This will not only add a sustainable irrigation system for the plants and trees, but also support the native birdlife. We’ll retain the large trees on-site and also add over 40 different species of plants and hundreds of new trees.
RG: And most but hopefully all the homes will have internal courtyards in addition to the primary outdoor space.
U: How do you discover what prospective buyers will want from a new property in the development?
SW: We worked on a face to face community engagement in March with some local businesses and sporting clubs, and are now speaking to the neighbourhood through a series of surveys. Although this coincides with Council’s formal advertising process, our intention is to get more in-depth feedback and importantly any stories from the people who know this site best.
RG: We found a quote in an old newsletter for the school when it was being closed “I hope the legacy of Wantirna Heights brings happiness to the people who are housed in the proposed new estate. It was a place where children were nurtured and supported and a place that generated happy memories for the families involved”. This really stuck with us, so hopefully we can deliver this.
SW: Although the online survey is for local residents, we’re also encouraging feedback from future residents about things that may not be relevant to the locals – such as the need for a wok room or electric car chargers in their homes.
U: How involved are buyers in the design process? Are they able to request any iterations prior to construction?
RG: Yes, sometimes we do accept requests during construction but it can be tricky.
SW: Traditionally most of our buyers have customised the spaces, but prior to construction. This is something we encourage so they can build an emotional connection to their homes right from the start.
U: What does the timeline look like for this project?
RG: We’re running a two-stage planning process. The first application is for a masterplan, which will be followed by a planning permit application hopefully later this year.
So it’s not a traditional waterfall timeline, as we’re committing to a lot more work upfront in the hope of a tailored response to the project.
U: And finally, with Oz Property Group’s reputation of building healthy and sustainable homes, how are you planning to further develop these standards across your future projects?
SW: In addition to the integrated water management system, we’re looking more in-depth into rubbish sorting and collection and using reusable building materials with circular economy principles. We may even end up without any gas connections (fossil fuel free) i.e. electric cooktops, but traditionally this has had some resistance from buyers. All this will be in addition to the now usual solar panels and high energy ratings.
We recently did an episode in our publication (blueprint) about sustainability in real estate. The big learning was how broad the spectrum of sustainability really is and how there are so many ways we can practice sustainability in our projects. This can range from getting the early design right, to the construction, but also how these considerations affect how people actually live and want to live.