University of Melbourne, Hawthorn Campus
University of Melbourne – the site of the new residential development. IMAGE: Paper Mill Agency.
  • Hamton Property Group has won the contract to buy the former University of Melbourne Hawthorn campus.
  • The new site will feature 350 boutique apartments across six buildings.
  • The development prioritises sustainability, and will offer affordable housing for Key Workers.

The development plan for a $500 million luxury residential development on the former University of Melbourne’s Hawthorn campus has been approved after the site was rezoned from a Public Use Zone to a Residential Growth Zone.

With a history of repurposing former institutional sites like schools and universities into vibrant residential communities, private Melbourne developer Hamton Property Group was awarded state Government approval to transform the 1.6-hectare site into 350 boutique apartments across six buildings, varying from three to seven stories.

This comes after Hamton initially entered the contract to purchase the University site in early 2022, with a settlement of the sale expected to occur in March 2024. The proceeds from the site sale will help fund the University of Melbourne’s financial contribution to the new $650 million+ Australian Institute for Infectious Disease research facility in Parkville, a State Government partnership.

Severe undersupply of housing in Hawthorn

According to an independent analysis commissioned by Hamton from property consultancy Charter Keck Cramer, there is a severe shortage of housing supply to demand over the next three years in the Hawthorn catchment. This underscores the need for more development in Melbourne’s established inner suburbs, with the Hamton project coming at an opportune time for the local community.

Paul Hameister OAM, Hamton Founder and Executive Chairman, says, “This approval from the Minister for Planning enables the delivery of meaningful new housing supply in the popular inner east of Melbourne, where development opportunities of scale are non-existent, and demand for high-quality residences continues to outstrip supply.”

Jacinta Allen, Paul Hameister and Sonya Killkenny
Jacinta Allen, Paul Hameister and Sonya Kilkenny in front of the former University of Melbourne, Hawthorn Campus. IMAGE: Paper Mill Agency.

The approved plans will allow Hamton to create a sustainable, green oasis in the midst of the leafy suburb, with landscaped gardens and parks making up a third of the total site area, well above the typical requirements for green open space.

“Our vision for this development is to create a global exemplar of gentle medium density housing, with a collection of mid-rise buildings set within lush green parks and gardens that prioritise people and community, with excellence in sustainability at its core.”

Paul Hameister, Hamton Property Group

Sustainability commitments

The new development has also prioritised sustainability in its plan, with Hamton targeting a 5-star Green Star design rating, 7-Star NatHers rating for the apartments, and Climate Active certification as Net Zero.

The site currently has around 100 existing trees, only four of which are required to be retained under planning scheme obligations. However, Hamton has committed to keeping a majority of the trees as well as planting an additional 100 trees to create a nature-based community with ample green open space.

Affordable Housing for Key Workers

Praise has also come for Hamton’s commitment to set aside 10 per cent of the apartments as affordable housing for essential workers such as nurses and emergency personnel, as well as teachers from surrounding schools such as Auburn South Primary, Bialik College, and Scotch College.

This will help those on moderate incomes access housing in well-serviced, amenity-rich locations like Hawthorn, where market prices would normally exclude them.
Completion by 2027

With the site sale expected to go through within months, Hamton plans to launch sales for the boutique apartments in Q3 2024, with main construction works likely to commence from mid-2025 once the existing buildings are demolished and early works completed. The total completion date is estimated by late 2027.

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