Local player Pellicano steps up build-to-rent with $225m project

Private developer Pellicano is rapidly accelerating its pipeline of build-to-rent projects, with plans for a $225 million project at Robina on the Gold Coast as the emerging sector gains traction more broadly in the market.

Family-owned Pellicano is diversified across commercial, industrial, retail, hospitality and residential and has been stepping up its exposure to rental housing over the past three years.

Its BTR pipeline in Queensland and Victoria has expanded to about 2000 apartments. For Pellicano, though, it is already a well-known asset class, after its family founders developed a block of rental town homes to retain in Melbourne in the 1970s.

“Build-to-rent will continue to be a key area of focus for Pellicano moving forward,” managing director Nando Pellicano said. “We will continue to seek out well-located sites across both Victoria and Queensland, where we can deliver high-quality residences to growing populations.”

Under its banner of Pellicano Living, the developer has about 600 apartments it manages in 10 locations, generating valuable data it can tap for design decisions on upcoming projects. Another 410 build-to-rent apartments under construction will be completed over the next 15 months, at Brisbane’s Woolloongabba, Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point and at Geelong in Victoria.

The Robina plan comprises 418 residences across four buildings of nine to 10 levels. It follows previous developments by Pellicano in the Gold Coast precinct including serviced apartments.

The project, to be called Paloma House, involves close to 8000 square metres of amenities including a wellness centre, gym, steam room, sauna, cinema, residents’ lounge and work-from-home space.

It has been designed by architects Rothelowman, whose associate principal, Lawson Royes, said a “sense of connectedness” for residents was a key theme guiding the design. The proposal’s “liveability agenda” had been bolstered by the inclusion of elements such as dense vegetation in the public areas and the creation of a resort-style feel across the facility, he said.

Offshore investors dominate

Pellicano is one of the few local private players to be gaining scale in the burgeoning build-to-rent sector, now a $17 billion asset class with close to 24,000 apartments operating, under construction or in planning.

The sector is dominated by offshore investors, often working through local partners, which have contributed close to $12 billion in investment, according to an EY analysis. Labor’s last federal budget included a crucial tax break for foreign BTR investors.

Among the big players are US giant Greystar, which began work on one of the country’s largest projects this week, a $500 million development with 617 apartments in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of South Yarra.

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is heavily invested in the sector, backing both Daniel Grollo’s Home platform and Rich Lister Tim Gurner’s BTR ambitions, while Canada’s Oxford Properties is also a big player. Locally listed property platforms Mirvac and Lendlease are looking to establish sizeable portfolios.

Article source: www.afr.com

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