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Southbank Residents Group

13 May 2014

Recently I attended a number of “open for inspections” around Southbank for rental properties. 

A good number of the properties I inspected were generally new developments where the prospective tenant would be the first tenant to reside in the property. 

There was a flurry of activity by agents at these properties as competitive forces engage to move an abundance of stock all within the same building, and for some unlucky developments, the building next door or just a few metres down the street. 

I have never seen agents so active and attentive for one’s business as when there are a number of other agents circling like sharks awaiting to strike at the first sign of a confused (or maybe overwhelmed) prospective tenant. 

I also learned the asking price for most, if not all, the apartments in these complexes was quite flexible. While my initial welcoming of these developments was somewhat entertaining, what I was to find inside was totally unexpected.

What I am referring to is the internal design. I was astonished to see how much an architect could fit into such a small space, and the rental agents had the audacity to tell me I was inspecting a two-bedroom apartment. 

In reality I was inspecting a one bedroom plus study, however the agents seem to feel a little poetic licence is quite okay. 

The only problem is that the study (the room without any windows) was actually larger than the bedroom (the room with the windows), needless to say, I was confused. 

While I generally commend architects on their designs and good use of space, they do need to draw the line somewhere as to what is just too small, or more importantly just outright impractical. Maybe the agents get their poetic licence from the architects?

I experienced refrigerator and microwave recesses which were only big enough to fit the smallest of units – oh did I mention that was only if you removed the hinges and door in front of the recess otherwise it certainly won’t squeeze in, and then once it is in, you’re not going to be able to get that door back on! 

I came across elevators that were so small that it made me ponder whether the developer was a shareholder of Ikea as I am certain the only large furniture items one is going to get into an apartment would be flat-packed and assembled once inside. 

While on elevators, I would have thought a loading dock to assist move-in/move-out would have just been a matter of modern design, well not what I saw. But then again, if flat-packs are expected, then I can see why no loading dock is necessary. 

There was also no, or very little, lighting in the places you need it most – kitchen workbenches and above mirrors/basins in bathrooms. There are smoke detectors which alarm every morning just from cooking toast (let’s not talk about if you want to fry something). Oh, did I mention I also learned that it would seem we people of the 21st century don’t need very large wardrobes.

Come on designers and architects, you can do better than this! But more importantly I wonder what oversight the City of Melbourne and the Planning Minister’s department put into the detail of the design and layout of the apartments and complexes which they approve. 

Maybe, just maybe, the ones I inspected slipped through the gaps. I just certainly hope this oversight is not the norm, otherwise I feel the quality of the complexes in Southbank will become the laughing stock of Melbourne. They might look pretty on the outside, but they are a disaster on the inside.

If you have any such examples or experiences I would love to hear about them and learn something more about your complex and Southbank building design.

Send a message to our Facebook page facebook.com/SouthbankResidentsGroup. If you haven’t liked us yet, or become a member, it’s something you might like to consider.

Tony Penna

President

Southbank Residents Group

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