For Trenerry Property Group director Robert DiCintio, there are two key elements that make a neighbourhood worth living in: a diverse demographic, and the vibrancy that diversity naturally brings.
When it came to designing West End, a high-rise development of four apartment buildings and a concept hotel in the heart of West Melbourne, Robert turned to Melbourne’s suburbs as well as thriving overseas cities for inspiration.
“It’s predominantly based on the best suburbs in Melbourne to live in, where you have a wide range of demographic profiles,” he says, citing St Kilda, Richmond, South Yarra and Collingwood.
“You can have high-net-worths, couples with no kids, families, students, the aged, the young.
“That diversity basically creates vibrancy, which is what we want for West End – a thriving and exciting village atmosphere that will allow residents to both have fun and relax, depending on their mood.”
Other threads of inspiration came from cities such as New York and London, where neighbourhoods have their own unique, village-like flavours.
“New York is one of my favourite cities in the world,” Robert says.
“I think Brooklyn has some similar features to West Melbourne, in the sense that it’s on the extremity of Manhattan, where all the excitement of the city can be enjoyed without having to live in it all the time.”
The team at Trenerry had long held a vision of creating an inner-city, campus-style development with a range of apartments. But finding the right location took longer than expected.
Then, when a 9200-square-metre site to the west of the CBD went on the market, Robert knew it was exactly the spot they were looking for.
“I think West Melbourne is one of the most underrated suburbs in all of Melbourne, because it’s just got the most beautiful, wide streets,” he says.
“They’re basically a function of its industrial past. But now all that industry’s left and you’ve got these amazing streets that are beautifully tree-lined and have the most wonderful village ambience.”
While West Melbourne is already home to a diverse community, Robert believes the suburb’s weak spot is that it lacks amenity. He says West End will improve that.
The finished development will have eight restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as shops, a medical centre, pharmacy and supermarket.
The five-star Adina Grand hotel, an ultra-modern urban hotel with a day spa and wellness centre, will occupy its own building.
As well as having a public park that has been vested with Melbourne City Council, West End will have a residents’ garden that is about the size of 10 tennis courts.
Within it will be pocket gardens – one a “reflection garden”, and the other a “contemplation garden” – with water features.
There will also be a 25-metre lap pool, a lounge pool and spa, and barbecue facilities.
For West End residents, a fundamental feature of living in the development will be WeLife, the building’s remote keyless entry and security system.
WeLife will be accessed from an app on residents’ phones.
“It’s going to be a very smart building,” Robert says.
“You’ll be able to enter your lobby with your phone, enter your apartment with the phone, access the car park. You’ll be able to send your code to people to allow them to enter the building, and it acts as an intercom system as well.”
The app will also allow residents to communicate directly with each other, and let them book amenities, such as the private cinema, events spaces and barbecue.
“It’s those sort of features that will engender a really great community aspect to the property,” Robert says. Adding to the community atmosphere – and the delight of animal lovers – is the fact that West End is a pet-friendly development. It will even have its own dog wash and dog-walking services.
“All my developments are pet friendly, but this one takes that to the next level,” Robert says.
His pug will move into West End’s Adderley building, along with the rest of the DiCintio family, once the build is complete.
Pet owners will agree that animals bring us together.
This is exactly what Robert is banking on for West End.
“I just find that pet-friendly developers engender good community and positive vibes in their developments,” he says.
Apartment prices will range from $450,000 to $6 million.
DiCintio believes the residences will attract a wide range of buyers, in turn ensuring a diverse group of occupants.
“Because of that diversity and the vibrancy that creates, I’m moving my family there. I can live where I like in Melbourne, but I just love this location so much that I’m moving my family there,” he says.
“What’s really great is my eldest adult son, who lives in Richmond with his partner … has also agreed to move into West End, albeit in a different building. That’s what West End is all about.”