In an attempt to entice more Asian buyers, Chinese apartment agent Apex Investment Alliance has marketed Lendlease’s Melbourne Quarter project as potential Airbnb-style "serviced apartments".
Apex stood up at a recent seminar at Lendlease's Barangaroo headquarters, according to the Australian Financial Review, and told about 400 prospective buyers that Melbourne Quarter properties would be advertised and managed as short, medium or even long-term leases on online booking platforms such as Wotif, Booking.com and Airbnb.
The AFR said the hard sell from Apex comes at a time when Chinese buyers are withdrawing from the apartment market due to lack of funding from local banks.
Could China’s New Currency Regulations Hit Aussie Developers?]Apex believes the secret to success for the initiative lies within Melbourne Quarter’s location, which happens to be opposite Crown Casino. In comparison to the Crown’s understood $400-$600 a night fee, Apex suggested a much lower fee, like $300 a night, would draw people away from pricier offerings and generate a much more substantial weekly collection.
Melbourne Quarter will include three next-generation commercial towers, apartments and retail spaces, and Apex was confident that it would have a future of "rental guarantees", due to the project being synonymous with a commercial tower where executives look for short stays.
"It's all about location, location, location," an Apex presenter said at the seminar, according to the AFR.
Despite Apex’s push towards such a tactic, Lendlease reportedly said it was not venturing into serviced apartment development.
"Melbourne Quarter presents a great residential investment opportunity and we have had strong interest from our locally based customers seeking attractive and affordable investments. We do not currently have plans to develop serviced apartments at any of our Australian residential projects," a spokesperson said.
There were also no restrictions for Melbourne CBD apartment owners to use their properties as short-term leases or hotel-like rentals.
However, the AFR reported that Apex consultants were on site at Barangaroo on Tuesday night to sign customers with an Eftpos machine to take a $5000 deposit for apartments.