Frasers Property Australia’s ambitious plan to create the world’s most sustainable shopping centre has received planning approval from Melbourne’s Whitehorse City Council, with the first sod set to be turned today (Tuesday 12 June).

The Burwood Brickworks shopping centre, targeting Living Building Challenge certification, will be built by Melbourne-based builder Hacer Group, and is part of a $500 million masterplanned estate that will include 700 homes, community facilities, and 2.5 hectares of open space and parkland.

See our previous articles:

Frasers’ general manager – residential Victoria Sarah Bloom said getting DA approval had taken a long time due to the complexity of the undertaking.

“This community will set a new benchmark for what’s possible in sustainable urban design,” Ms Bloom said.

“This project exemplifies everything we stand for: building sustainable, liveable communities that promote the long-term health and wellbeing of our residents and, especially in the case of Burwood Brickworks, for visitors too.”

The 12,700-square-metre Burwood Brickworks shopping centre is aiming to become the world’s first Living Building Challenge retail project, which compels developments to be carbon, energy and water positive, amongst other demanding requirements.

The project will feature onsite solar PV as well as procure offsite renewable energy, which, together with battery storage, will generate 105 per cent of energy needs.

Other sustainability features include:

  • high-efficiency glazing
  • a central HVAC system that reuses waste heat
  • a greywater and blackwater recycling plant, resulting in net positive water use
  • reuse of 99 per cent of construction waste
  • use of local, salvaged and sustainable materials, including bricks and timbers
  • biophilic design including greenery, natural daylight and fresh air
  • an embedded energy network offering tenants cheap renewable and thermal energy
  • a rooftop urban farm and local produce cafe

It will also be targeting a 6 Star Green Star & As Built rating.

The design by NH Architecture is using “the concept of a ‘re-purposed’ factory shed as the foundation element in form and spirit”, according to managing director Roger Nelson.

“To us, this project meant an opportunity to be part of the solutions, to be a catalyst for changing behaviour,” he said. “So in a way, it is attempting to look at what the future has to hold for projects in our built environment with regards to materials, energy, water and waste.”

Net zero is commercially viable – and preferable

According to Frasers’ executive general manager – retail Peri Macdonald, the cost of the sustainability initiatives amounts to about $14 million, however he expects commercial returns to “more than justify” the investment.

“We will demonstrate that developing a net positive sustainable shopping centre – one that gives more than it takes from its environment – is not only commercially viable, but preferable,” Mr Macdonald said.

“The aim is to create a more comfortable centre to visit, designed to encourage people to stay, and it follows that with increased dwell times comes greater expenditure.”

The promise of higher turnover and lower tenant outgoings on energy means specialty rents can be set at about $1000 a sq m.

The project will be anchored by Woolworths, which has committed to a 4200 sq m lease, and a call has been put out to specialty retailers for tenancies ranging from 25-300 sq m. Frasers is targeting “progressive” food and beverage operators, but says it is “taking an open-minded approach” to the retail mix.

Woolworths senior property manager Brad Karge said the supermarket would also be implementing sustainability initiatives in store.

“The new Burwood Brickworks Woolworths store will draw power from the solar panels installed in the centre and be fitted out with LED lights to reduce power usage,” Mr Karge said.

“The store’s refrigeration and air-conditioning will generate a reduced carbon footprint and use natural refrigerants, and we will also have an area in-store where customers can bring in their soft plastics to be recycled.”

The development’s 700 homes – a mixture of freestanding homes and semi-detached terrace housing and apartments – is set to be on the market this Spring with completion scheduled for late 2020. Already 5000 expressions of interest have been received.

Expression of interest have also been coming in for the opportunity to run the centre’s rooftop urban farm, with more than 50 received so far. Negotiations have begun with shortlisted entries, with the successful candidate to be chosen mid-year.

All-in-all, the development is expected to create 3000 new jobs, including more than 700 ongoing jobs in the shopping centre.

Completion of Burwood Brickworks is set for late 2019.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published.

  1. Great project by Frasers and I applaud the efforts put into this.

    Unfortunately it would be an oxymoron to call it sustainable if Woolworths are the anchor tenant. Surely Frasers can do better than that.

    Lets see some true cost accounting on this development. How much are Woolworths paying / sq meter?. Let’s have a closer look at the economics of this to suggest such grand claims. This is not a game changer about form the built bit .

    Warm regards