The Ireland Street Collective: West Melbourne 8 townhouse syndicate launches

2016 January 31
by Tim Riley

In August 2015 our fourth property syndicate formed and on Christmas eve we received an early present in the form 11-17 Ireland Street West Melbourne.

Measuring 409m2 the site is a north facing warehouse with laneway access to the south and east and is around 100m from North Melbourne station.

We bought the property for $2.3m (ex GST) on a 6 month settlement with a 5% deposit. In August we missed out on a smaller site just around the corner from at 88 Miller St which sold for $2.4m at auction. So it feels like we secured a good deal.

Our plan is to develop 8 x four-storey townhouses with around 120 sqm of living space. Each townhouse would have a footprint of around 40-50m2 so quite compact. We plan to have large roof terraces and balconies to take advantage  of the city views to the east. The design challenge will be to make the small footprints feel spacious and also to bring light and visual interest to the units in the middle given their lack of street frontage.


Ireland Street northern elevation – initial town planning submission

For inspiration we are looking to build on the work of people like:

All of these projects are on blocks of under 50m2.

If you are interested in finding out about upcoming projects in 2016 please feel free to get in touch.

Ireland St aerial

Ireland St frontage

Tait Lane frontage

Buy with a little help from your friends – syndicate feature in The Sunday Age

2015 September 25
by Tim Riley

Property Collectives was lucky enough to have a great feature in last week’s Sunday Age. The story featured some of the original partners in our St Georges Rd syndicate which finished in 2013, plus a few new additions, namely little Orson and Aurelia.

Click here to read the piece.

Domain pic 1


The Clarke Street Collective: final design for Northcote 7 townhouse project

2015 June 9
by Tim Riley

The Clarke Street Collective recently submitted a revised town planning application for our seven townhouse project in Clarke Street Northcote. Based on Council’s feedback we undertook a partial redesign of the initial scheme to address their main concerns around visual bulk, landscaping opportunities and impact on the amenity of the neighbour to the east.

Working closely with the team from Pillar+Post all members of the collective were intimately involved in the design development. The key highlights of the brief was to design something differentiated and take advantage of the elevated and sloping site to capture not only south western city views but the north eastern aspect to Ruckers Hill.

The design response features a restrained palette of materials that is contextually appropriate and considers the weathering of the building, particularly in relation to the prominent western elevation. The façade to the west features a functional yet scupltural external steel modular frame. The frame is offset from the main structure to allow for vertical planting and external sun shading to buffer the site acoustically from the train track to the west and moderate heat load from the western sun.

We anticipate our application will now go to advertising and await with interest the feedback from the wider community.

V01 Pillar and Post Clarke Street_AMEND

The Strettle Street Collective: Thornbury 6 townhouse development JV kicks off

2015 June 8
by Tim Riley

Before Christmas 2014 we formed our next collective and started looking for another townhouse development site.

While the purchase of our St Georges Rd Northcote and Clarke Street Northcote sites took around 9 months, fortunately the acquisition of this site took a little over 4 months.

For this project we will be looking to develop six double-storey townhouses of around 130 sqm of living with our 5 other partners.

Strettle St aerial

Measuring around 1430 sqm with a 20 metre frontage and 70 metre length, the most exciting thing about the site is its elevated position. Sitting close to the top of McComas Hill with a east – west orientation, the site has fantastic city views looking the south over Merri Creek.

The east-west orientation of the site also means that we can maximise northern private open space to all of the townhouses and given the generous size of the site push for ground floor living spaces.

Nightingale apartments Brunswick approved – alternative development models gaining traction

2015 March 6
by Tim Riley

I’ve been following the progression of the Breathe architecture led Nightingale Brunswick apartment project with interest over the last few months. Mostly because it seems the creators have developed a similar approach to the Property Collectives model, although focused on apartments versus townhouses.


So it was good to read this week that this project has been approved by Moreland City Council.

The thing that struck me the most about the reports of the town planning approval process was the amount of community support for the project and the model. Particularly from the architectural community.

As noted in Michael Smith’s blog Nightingale received only 3 objections and had “an unprecedented 177 letters of support from architects and the local community wanting to see more affordable and environmentally sustainable housing.”

It’s very encouraged to hear that this level of support exists for an alternative development model.

Despite the lowest interest rates in history property is still unattainable for many so it is exciting to see so many people embrace a clever way to access high quality property.

Perhaps it is not too much of a surprise that a lot of the support for the project came from the architectural community. It seems this new model allows architects to take more control over the end product than many developers would allow them.

What the Nightingale project shows is that tweaking your financial model to elevates other priorities like quality and sustainability to an almost equal status as money can result in higher quality outcomes that people are passionate to support.

As Smith outlines in his piece, with the “Nightingale” financial model, “the profits of the developers are capped at 15%, rather than the traditional developer model which starts at 20% and then squeezes the costs and quality to get a bonus return. In the Nightingale model, Marketing costs, real estate costs and showroom costs are all eliminated completely with savings passed on to the buyers.”

The Nightingale is another alternative development model that is democratising development and making well designed buildings attainable and achievable for everyone.

Many congratulations to all involved in Nightingale 1. To achieve what they have done to date with a large number of stakeholders is impressive. It is a reflection of a strong vision executed well.

I hope Darebin City Council are just as generous as Moreland when it comes to approving our little alternative development model project in Clarke St Northcote!


The Clarke Street Collective: Our second Northcote joint venture property development kicks off

2014 September 19
by Tim Riley

I’m pretty excited to have kicked off another joint venture property development after recently purchasing 121 Clarke Street Northcote.

After 9 months of searching for a development site and a number of failed bids we secured a fantastic 877m2 property in a great location on Ruckers Hill. The plan is to build seven 3 bedroom townhouses on the site by the end of 2016.

Thanks to the six other Clarke Street Collective partners for all their patience, persistence and commitment to making our second Northcote joint venture property development project happen.

The happy ladies and babies

The happy ladies and babies on auction day

Dalziel Lane

Dalziel Lane

South West views to city

South West views to city

North East aspect to Ruckers Hill

North East aspect to Ruckers Hill

Northern aspect

Northern aspect



Step by step guide to small property development: YIP magazine

2014 July 18
by Tim Riley

Your Investment Property magazine recently started a three part series on small property development.

The aim of the series is to cover everything you need to know about making the transition from property investor to property developer.

Part One explores the first steps you need to take on the road to becoming a property developer. Click here to read the full article.

Look out for a few words from me on the importance of having an exit strategy before you start…


Step by step guide to small development

Step by step guide to small development p.2

The Saint George Collective: Northcote joint venture – the finished product

2014 January 27
by Tim Riley

Units 1-4/2 McCracken Avenue Northcote, Victoria


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - view from McCracken Avenue

View from McCracken Avenue


Design Team: Dan Demant, Tim Riley & The Saint George Collective

Documentation Architects: Loop 8

Location: Cnr of St Georges Rd & McCracken Avenue, Northcote, Victoria

Land Area: 486 m2

Building Area: 460 m2

Year: 2013

Photographs: Courtesy of Scottie Cameron

Construction: Freddi & Co Constructions


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - view from McCracken Avenue 2

View south of unit 4 from McCracken Avenue


This four townhouse joint venture development project at 1-4 McCracken Avenue Northcote was the result of four partners working together in a joint venture partnership. The objective of the group was to create a development with architectural and environmental integrity that we could all be proud of and that created real financial and social capital for the members of the collective.

The four partners each shared 25% of the costs and ended up with a townhouse each at the end of the project which took thirty three months. The property was secured in September 2010, permits were approved in August 2011, construction commenced in May 2012 and concluded in June 2013.

The north facing corner site with rear access via a lane way offered many opportunities for the design. We wanted all the units to maximise this north light access and take advantage of elevated city views to the south. One of the main challenges was the narrowness of the block. At only 12.8 metres in depth it resulted in small ground floor footprints of approximately 48 square metres. The three units to the rear have living and dining areas on the first level utilising deck areas for private open space and maximising cross flow ventilation. The front unit took advantage of the garden area to St Georges Rd with its living and dining areas on the ground. All units are three-bedrooms with en suite and main bathrooms.

Rather than dominating the streetscape with extra crossovers and garages, the parking area was hidden at the top of the site off the rear laneway. This provides a strong pedestrian presence to the front addresses of the development. This human scale is reinforced with the tactile materiality of the recycled brick that was used to match the front brick fence of the original building on St Georges Rd.

The form of the building is a simple extrusion of the ground. The overall form is articulated by deep deck areas, steel structural posts and varying colour treatment to the cladding. This was done in an attempt to give each unit a strong individual identity whilst being clearly part of a whole.

The primary cladding material is painted fibre cement sheet which acts as a durable low maintenance backdrop to the screening of the slatted timber balustrades. The silvertop ash battens add an extra layer of detail and materiality across the building and soften its mass.

Internally, a simple palette of durable materials was used. Non VOC paints were used throughout. There is central hoop-pine clad wall through each stairwell dotted with black formply slots acting to break up the mass. Kitchens are also in hoop pine with charcoal laminate benchtops and varying gloss and matt white tile break ups.

The concrete floor slabs remain exposed with a clear seal finish. The upper level floors are made up of large sheets of spotted gum hardwood ply with exposed jointing finished with a clear seal that enhances the patterning of the timber. 


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - stair case feature unit 2

Stair case feature wall unit 2


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - living room unit 2

Living room looking north unit 2


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - kitchen unit 2

Kitchen of unit 2


Saint George Collective joint venture property development - view from St Georges Rd

View east from St Georges Rd


A few of the happy joint venture partners


To find out more about Property Collectives, our coming projects and how we could help you start a project similar to this, fill out the contact form below.

* indicates required field

Powered by Fast Secure Contact Form


How to find the right joint venture development partner: Your Investment Property magazine

2013 December 28
by Tim Riley

How to find the right joint venture partner

Its a question I get asked often and its a not that easy a question to answer. Your Investment Property magazine asked me to put together my thoughts on this question for its readers in the November 2013 edition.

Click here to read online or click here to view as a pdf.



Heller Street Park Brunswick – a new model of inner-city housing

2013 August 12
by Tim Riley

Just wanted to share a great piece last week from our friends at Assemble Papers on the Heller Street Park and Residences by Melbourne architects Six Degrees.

It’s quite a unique project for a number of reasons. Although perhaps the core of its success is summed up best by Heller Street Park resident and urban planner Damian… “often the criticism in living in medium density housing is that the design isn’t well considered and that it’s yield based and developer driven rather than design driven. I think the secret here has been that the design is something that has bought like-minded people together who in turn have wanted to cultivate and improve or maintain it over time.”

Look out for the next installment in Assemble Papers next week…