The Future of City Living

Luxurious apartments in the city’s West End are proving a success as the nearby multibillion-dollar BioMed City is transforming the precinct.

High-rises, an abundance of fine dining options and parklands galore – living in the city centre of Adelaide must be a far cry from Johny’s previous life in the Philippines, where the weather is humid and the traffic congested. It comes as no surprise that the nurse and his wife Regina, who is also a nurse, are ready to embrace their new lifestyle. “For me it’s the whole thing,” he says.

“I haven’t lived in the city. Most of my childhood I lived in the country back overseas but I wanted something different. Having a shared pool, a shared gym, a shared barbecue area, a high-rise in the city, I think, yeah, it’s very exciting for me.” The young parents have just bought a two-bedroom apartment on the 11th floor at the West Franklin development, one of the largest urban regeneration projects undertaken in the city.

The couple, who live in Mile End, are among an increasing number of health professionals moving into the West End as it undergoes a remarkable transformation from being a sleepy part of the CBD to a futuristic precinct where health goes hand-in-hand with wealth.

About $4 billion has been poured into Adelaide’s BioMed City, the biggest Health and Biomedical Research Precinct in the southern hemisphere. This gleaming new hi-tech, smart-thinking precinct is attracting world-class researchers, millions of dollars of research grants and the interest of big pharma medical companies keen to ride the lucrative crest of important medical research breakthroughs.

The anchor of the site is the $2.3 billion, 800-bed new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which officially opened this month.

The new RAH will change the dynamics of medical care, introducing technology into nearly every space of this earthquakeproof building. Nearby on North Tce, in an eye-catching building, is the SA Health and Medical Research Institute headquarters.

Here, analysis by consultants Ernest and Young in 2013 estimated, more than 900 full-time positions will be available by 2020 and $277 million will be injected into the local economy. Other pieces of this research jigsaw, which aims to link researchers, clinicians, students and patients in a productive cubicle, are also falling into place. Adelaide Uni’s $237 million health and medical sciences building supports medicine, nursing and dentistry students as well as about 400 health sciences researchers, while Uni SA’s health innovation building develops links between the university community and up to 250 of Australia’s top researchers. And there are plans to build SAHMRI 2, worth $280 million, and shift a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital to the precinct.

Greaton national marketing manager Dorothy Chapman says West Franklin, which stretches across 5000 sqm on the corner of Franklin, Elizabeth and Morphett streets, is feeling the flow-on effects of the medical precinct. “In recent months we have witnessed a surge in medical professionals purchasing in West Franklin as a direct result of the expanding biomedical precinct in North Tce,” she says. “The opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital last week is expected to draw even more buyers from the medical fraternity.” Early constructions on the first stage, which comprises 271 luxurious apartments, started in July 2016, with just 33 apartments still up for grabs. Greaton national sales manager Cameron Porter says about 70 per cent of the buyers are from Adelaide.

West Franklin truly represents the future of living in Adelaide. The first stage features a six-storey podium supporting two towers of 20 and 18 storeys. The brick Elizabeth St facade, a remnant of the site’s former occupant, the iconic Balfours factory, features 16 apartments in townhouse and loft-style layouts as an alternative to the single-level apartments in the towers above.

Greaton managing director Nicho Teng says West Franklin construction has started, with two cranes active on site and foundations now complete for the $90 million stage one, which is expected to be completed early next year. “Greaton is proud to be activating the West End area of the city and to help generate hundreds of jobs to stimulate the local residential and retail economy,” he says. “Greaton is passionate about creating community and we expect West Franklin will transform the West End to truly become the ‘best end’.” Designed by Adelaide architects Brown Falconer, the apartments have easy access to Adelaide Airport, the new hospital, the Adelaide Central Markets, cafes and restaurants. Communal areas include a 20m wet-edged pool, a gym, a sauna and steam room and extensive outdoor areas with spectacular views to the coast, CBD and the Hills. The ground floor includes 1245 sqm of retail and commercial spaces configured as a proposed supermarket, cafes and retail shopping. Prices for the remaining apartments range from $382,000 for one bedroom and $562,000 for two bedrooms with car park to $615,000 for a two-bedroom townhouse-style apartment.

Self-confessed foodies, Johny says he and his wife love dining out and leading active lives. “We decided straight away that we were going to get the apartment,” he says. The couple met working at a hospital in the Philippines before moving with their three-year-old son, Jeiro, in January 2015 to take up work at hospitals in Adelaide.

Their jobs can be hectic, with morning and afternoon shifts often meaning their rosters don’t match. But Johny says living in the city centre will save the pair time and energy their son’s childcare centre and future school are both in the CBD. “I’ve done the maths,” Johny says. “When you combine the time that you save in a year (driving to work), that would be around 20 days … if you travel for an hour a day. It’s exhausting.

“The school that I wanted (Jeiro) to go to is just 600m from here, so we can just go for a walk in the morning and drop him off before work,” says Johny. “You save a lot of time and energy.”?