GQ Pumps Up BtR in Fitzroy North and Brisbane Debut

Build-to-rent developer GQ is boosting its pipeline to 3650 apartments in a move to expand its footprint considerably across the eastern seaboard, notably including a Brisbane debut.

The Gurner-Qualitas joint venture announced it would progress its plans for Fitzroy North after Gurner bought the site for a build-to-sell development in 2016 for about $45 million. 

It’s a move that Gurner is likely to replicate across other sites in its portfolio as the build-to-sell market cools and build-to-rent develops as a stronger long-term play.

GQ has two sites, at St Kilda and Southbank, in Melbourne under construction with its Parramatta and Fitzroy North developments due to start construction by the end of 2023, taking its number of apartments under way to 1500 this year.

But the developer has announced an additional 2150 apartments in the pipeline on sites at Docklands, South Melbourne, Melbourne Inner East and Brisbane.

Gurner Group chief executive Tim Gurner said they were undertaking initial demolition works on the 7990sq m North Fitzroy site at 26–56 Queens Parade.

“Our access to capital and shovel-ready sites mean we are able to move quickly and rapidly build on our portfolio,” Gurner said.

“Our aim is to have 5000 apartments worth $5 billion under management by 2026 and we are well on the way to achieving this and to exceeding it.

“The scale is critical for cost management, efficiencies and to offer our customers an opportunity to move around Australia while always staying within a GQ Multifamily building.”

▲ A render of the Gurner-Qualitas mixed-use build-to-rent development proposed for Parramatta.

Gurner said the Fitzroy North project would offer diversity of product from studios to four-bedroom apartments catering to families.

“The current rental conditions and chronic undersupply of quality housing for our population means the sector is well-placed to service this growing deficit. GQ is ready to deploy all capital at our disposal to deliver this stock to the market,” Gurner said.

“I love working in Melbourne’s north—it’s such an incredible area with vibrant streetscapes, rich heritage and such a unique character. I am looking forward to celebrating that with our Queens Parade project, which will bring new retail and hospitality, greater housing diversity and some world-class residences to Fitzroy North.

“Fitzroy North has long been one of my favourite parts of Melbourne, and it consistently ranks as one of the coolest and most sought-after parts of the city—we think there’s a real opportunity to deliver stock that’s a cut above the rest, particularly as vacancy rate continues to put pressure on the market and the need for greater diversity in housing grows.”

Qualitas global head of real estate Mark Fischer said there were “strong and long-term underlying fundamentals” underpinning GQ’s position in the sector.

“We are favourable to the residential sector compared to all others as it is perfectly aligned to investors focused on assets generating defensive and resilient cashflows through all economic cycles,” Fischer said.

“These through-cycle structural drivers of the sector make GQ Multifamily well positioned to deliver much needed apartment stock, specifically across the eastern seaboard of Australia as well as providing additional services to these locations as part of the projects being delivered—which is central to the vision for the platform offering—along with high-quality amenity.”

Article source: Queensland Property Investor