There was a period in Perth where development and redevelopment were so fast paced that many valuable heritage properties were left so decrepit that they would ultimately be sanctioned for demolition.
Developers were hesitant to touch historic fabric due to the risks and unforeseen costs compared to the low cost, high profit ‘cookie-cutter’ buildings that were materialising across the City.
Match was born in the thick of this era. We were young and passionate about saving Perth streetscapes from bland, investor-driven apartment buildings. We wanted to build a legacy of design-centric projects that would bring interest and diversity to the landscape.
Adopting heritage rejuvenations into our portfolio was a natural fit and relatively easy to acquire based on the lack of industry interest.
Match became a trailblazer for heritage renewal projects in Perth and our work in this area today extends to property designs that pay homage to the site’s former use or the significance of the location, such as M/24 by Match in Leederville, Metropolitan in Mount Lawley, Sublime in North Fremantle and Johnson & James in Guildford.
A brief overview of Match’s heritage projects:
Corner of Milligan & Murray Streets, Perth
HOME still stands as one of Perth’s most impressive heritage renewals and a turning point that triggered many more heritage restoration projects throughout WA.
The 1927 warehouse building was introduced by the tobacco giant, W.D. & H.O. Wills and originally designed by local architects Oldham, Boas & Ednie-Brown; a firm reputed for over specifying to achieve design quality. It was constructed with reinforced concrete behind a beautiful facade, it is an excellent example of ‘Interwar Chicago-esque’ architecture featuring decorative mushroom columns unique to the era.
Match transformed this landmark site into 30 warehouse apartments, 37 adjoining terrace apartments and boutique commercial space, retaining some 95% of original heritage fabric, including a unique structural system that introduced the first mushroom headed slab on large diameter concrete columns constructed in Perth.
919 Beaufort Street, Inglewood
The Clocktower was originally built in 1936 in an architectural style known as ‘Inter-War Art Deco’. It was later used as the Civic Theatre Restaurant before being left largely unoccupied for many years.
The highly sensitive heritage rejuvenation project effectively transformed a local landmark into a boutique complex incorporating 28 apartments and four retail shops.
Specialist work was also required to locate a clock expert with the correct credentials to resurrect the signature clock, which was restarted in February 2008
Corner of Whatley Crescent and Eighth Avenue, Maylands
Maymont represents a major milestone for Maylands on a site that had been left decrepit for some time. The vision was to create a heart for the area and drive the inner-city culture to the area’s main strip, with architecture reminiscent of its hey-day in the 1920s. While much of the building’s structure could not be preserved due to many years of neglect, Match restored the heritage façades and introduced 42 apartments and 16 commercial spaces. The restoration program would be the start of the beautification process for Maylands, creating what is a today a hub of cafes, restaurants and bars.
36 Queen Victoria Street, Fremantle
Unquestionably one of Perth’s most significant heritage renewal projects in modern times, Heirloom is the award-winning heritage restoration of Fremantle’s iconic old Dalgety Woolstores, which sat largely unused for some 20 years.
The prominent structure located on Fremantle Harbour created a high-profile gateway to the City along Queen Victoria Street. It holds an important place in the City’s history and is most famous for its saw-tooth roof, classic red brickwork and 100-year old Jarrah beams.
The $130 million redevelopment leveraged the existing structure to create 183 spacious one and two-bedroom warehouse apartments, retaining over 85% of the original heritage fabric.
What were the key factors that drew you to these properties?
As a boutique apartment developer, Match works on the premise that the long-term investment value of a property is determined by its uniqueness and limited supply.
The simple fact is that you cannot manufacture heritage fabric and people will pay a premium for being able to acquire something distinctive and irreplaceable.
Location is, of course, always a factor, and when combined with a depth of character and history, we strongly believe these projects are worth the investment.
There was some time that developers wouldn’t go near heritage buildings because of all of the conditions surrounding it – what changed and did this influence your appetite for heritage?
In a development era that could be easily defined by its lack of sensitivity to good design and the legacy this would have on Perth’s streetscapes, there was certainly a case for ‘testing the water’.
It was new territory for most developers and, as a young company on a mission to disrupt the status quo, we took on highly ambitious heritage projects and were able to demonstrate both demand and return on investment.
Our success was supported by global shifts towards apartment living and a number of high-profile warehouse renewals around the world. Buyers were starting to view apartments as a lifestyle choice and developers needed to meet this market with unique and appealing propositions.
As a developer, what are the benefits and what are the challenges of developing heritage properties?
It is truly humbling and often breathtaking to see heritage fabric restored and repurposed for 21st century use.
The architectural values and depth of character inherent in these properties are timeless and, quite frankly, magnificent. Many discoveries can be made throughout the construction process that can add to the building’s story, such as an original wool-bale hoist and a railway track uncovered in the basement of Heirloom.
However, any adaptation of a retained building needs to satisfy current codes, modern facilities and environmental standards. This sometimes presents challenges for our architects to accommodate such requirements without compromising the usability, functionality, originality or attractiveness of the property.
At the Home building, our architects needed to work around enormous mushroom headed columns, and Heirloom, where services were ultimately hidden in a false flooring structure so that the Jarrah roofing and original beams could be exposed.
Are heritage projects more attractive for buyers?
Our experience is that the market is attracted to high quality, unique and boutique product which is much more enduring than that of high density, standardised developments.
Well executed heritage renewals elicit an emotional response and sense of connection that is so important in property sales. We find that people are really excited about owning an apartment that has heritage features that cannot be duplicated.
This was evidenced in the early release of Heirloom ‘off-the-plan’ apartments, which exceeded rigorous sales targets with over 70% of apartments selling prior to the commencement of construction.
There will always be a market that values heritage product over anything else.
Building on Como’s StyleRead more
The affluent riverside suburb of Como is most prominently known for its large stately homes and treelined suburban streets. However, as its population has matured and families grow up, the range of residential product suitable for people wanting to downsize yet stay in the area has been limited.
The M/26 by Match apartment complex was specifically developed for this market.
Located in an idyllic treelined street just minutes’ walk to the popular café strip and theatre, the site offers easy access to the Kwinana Freeway and close proximity to CBD. It is also a short stroll to the banks of the Swan River.
The design requirements needed to both reflect the luxuries that are befitting to the suburb, as well as accommodate the floorplan and space demands of the downsizer market.
The property was designed by reputable architects CCN Architects on behalf of Match, and the 40- apartment boutique complex was deliberately designed to be understated and airy, with interior scheme choices that reflect the popular Hamptons and Manhattan styles.
From a building perspective, the site’s exact location in relation to the Swan River had some challenges. It fell into Coastal Conditions, which meant that all external materials would be required to be ‘fit for purpose’, and additional building considerations would be needed for building on top of the high-water table with a basement carpark.
M/Construction Director, Michael Read, said being an integral part of the development process meant that the company had the flexibility to address all building and material requirements with innovation and value-add where possible.
“M/26 by Match was not merely completed on time and to specification, it has showcased how attention-to-detail and innovation can deliver a broad range of ongoing benefits,” he said.
“An extraordinary amount of focus was given to areas that are not overtly evident to those visiting the property but will ensure the longevity and quality of the investment for many years to come.
M/Construction reinforced the entire basement wall structure with some 380 concrete continuous pilings at 450mm diameter running from ground level, down to the basement and beneath. Once the piles were in place and the site was excavated, a large amount of de-watering and waterproofing took place, including all concrete footings, lift shaft, tower crane base and fire tanks.
Extensive future proofing provisions for the underground water table level were made within the basement area. In the event that the water table was ever to rise above the recorded maximum level, a water pump could be installed at that time to allow water to be pumped into council’s stormwater system. Given that a water pump may never be a requirement for the property, the forethought to circumvent its installation has effectively removed the need for regular servicing and maintenance and all associated strata costs. Further, All storerooms in the basement are raised on concrete plinths for added precautions.
Two x 72kl concrete fire tanks with the capacity to hold the water reserve were installed, which were backed by two x 42kw diesel water pumps to be used for pushing the water to a booster cabinet located at street level for the Fire Brigade trucks to connect to. An additional fire safety measure included the installation of auto-closing sliding fire doors in the basement car park to compartmentalise the area to avoid spread of fire.
Above ground, all external items were graded to some of the highest specifications to deal with and last through conditions of a property located nearby a large body of water. The majority of products provided a lengthy warranty for coatings and finishes.
“We were able to re-engineer several aspects of the project, including a concealed air conditioning system in lieu of an unsightly wall mounted split-system, as well as the introduction of a polished plaster feature wall to the lobby. Such detail can add immeasurable value to the property and create a consistent and uninterrupted experience for the end-users.
“The project was subject to some of the toughest environmental requirements by the City of South Perth, which not only met, but also exceeded Greenstar accreditation in some cases.”
M/Construction sourced and applied sustainable materials throughout the project. This included Greenstar Concrete to slabs and AFS walls, Greenstar reinforcement in concrete slabs and AFS walls, low VOC paints, adhesives and linings. The directive was to achieve a minimum of 51 points. However, M/Construction delivered a project that exceeded this by 13 points to 64.
M/Construction Senior Contract Manager, Mark Gannaway, said the construction team were meticulous in the delivery of the building and effortlessly adapted to unforeseen Covid-19 conditions.
“M/Construction is one of the few companies that use advanced technology to manage the development process. This enables the highest level of site-tracking and safety processes across all our projects, he said.
“In terms of M/26 by Match, I can tell you that our workforce recorded a total of 63,633hrs, 288,742min and 5,132sec based on the output of our site tracking software. This technology enormously simplified the increased requirements brought on by Covid-19, where we had to manage rigorous cleaning procedures and stringently monitor who and how many workers were on site at any given time.
“Time delays and an inadequate workforce can have an adverse impact on a project like this, so we take our systems and processes, methodologies and materials extremely seriously. Being part of the larger development framework makes us accountable for this and gives us the flexibility to manage a building process that will benefit the end user, project investor and company reputation. That’s not always the case with third party builders.”
M/Construction’s parent company, M/Group, is an integrated property group that offers services in investment, development, construction and real estate.
“The days of the traditional builder is well and truly over. Today, construction is a significantly more regulated and controlled industry and the successful players are highly professional with knowledge that must span across a whole range of disciplines,” Michael continued.
“While we will always look to research and test new innovations, all our fixtures and fitting are from well-known brands and sourced from credible suppliers. We place the quality of brands such as Bosch and Reece, ahead of the potential for higher margins, and we transfer all the after-service value onto the new owner.
“We are extremely proud of the standard of projects M/Construction consistently delivers and the benchmark we continue to increase in the construction game. M/26 by Match is another testament to the standard of work we deliver in Perth.”
M/26 by Match comprises of one and two-bedroom layouts across three stories. Each apartment is designed to maximise the city skyline and river views, with most floorplans running vertical to the exterior to capture the outlook across the living space and multiple bedrooms.
The project is located in Mary Street, Como, and the property has been made further distinctive by an artwork sculpture by Ayad Alqaragholli.
“(The sculpture) showcases two human figures, a man and woman, who pay homage to the multicultural tapestry of the South Perth community and how this blend of people live, love and interact,” she said.
“I hope that my sculpture will embody the positive values of life and that the wider audience who view my sculpture will feel uplifted and blessed as did I with my first experiences of this area.
M/Construction has won several coveted building awards for its work within the M/Group project network, however, the company is also highly regarded for its work for independent clients.
As seen in Master Builder’s Magazine – Spring 2020 Edition
Quest Apartment Hotel Ascot | Construction Completed August 2020Read more
Construction completion has been achieved at our second Quest Apartment-Hotel located on Great Eastern Highway in Ascot.
The Apartment Hotel consists of 112 rooms across 8 levels including a pool, conference room and business lounge.