The group desires to develop world-class apartment

November 16, 2013

COMPANIES such as Greenland Property Group, Ridong Group and Country Garden are hardly household names in Australia – yet.

But they are among the top Chinese developers who have made it their business not only to invest locally but to leave their mark with some of the most significant apartment projects in a generation.

These groups are united by their desire to develop world-class apartment projects that not only equal local luxury brands such as Mirvac but directly take on the big guns of global property in London and New York.

And, surprisingly to some, this new wave of nascent global developers is very interested in building in Sydney, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, among other locations, calling in the best local architects to work on their projects to gain a crucial lift in status.

The most prominent player is Greenland, which plans a $600 million project in the heart of Sydney, as well as several towers around Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse. The Sydney project will be the city’s tallest residential tower, comprising about 500 apartments, luxury penthouses, a boutique hotel and commercial and retail space on Bathurst Street on the former Sydney Water Board site.

CBRE managing director of realty marketing David Milton says the Chinese developers active here are very focused on quality. “They want good consultants, architects and interior designers and Greenland is great example,” Milton says. He is impressed by their class.

“If you look at the quality (of their projects) it is a benchmark above what an Australia developer would do,” he says of the new Chinese cohort. He argues their drive partly comes from Chinese market dynamics. “If you look at high-end apartments in China, the level of quality is just outstanding. They say: ‘We want to bring this level of quality elsewhere.’ That’s what they think.”

Milton even suggests some of what passes as good quality product here “wouldn’t cut the mustard in China”. “In the Chinese market you’ve got so many people that are so wealthy they want to pay for luxury.”

Bridgehill is emerging as one the bigger names. It has two projects in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, named Azure and Monaco. Both were designed by the high-profile SJB Architects.

Bridgehill is also revamping redundant buildings. In Sydney’s harbourside Milsons Point the group bought an office tower that it will convert into a luxury apartment tower wrapped in a double-glazed glass facade. Agent CBRE has almost sold out the 129 apartments that come with specially designed gardens.

Bridgehill managing director Yibin Xu, an architect qualified in China, sums up his philosophy for the buildings he is developing in his adopted county.

“I do it from my heart, not for the money,” he says.

Originally published by The Australian