Charmaine Wong | 26 February 2013

Edible gardens come with popular Clarke Street, Northcote apartment offering

Edible gardens come with popular Clarke Street, Northcote apartment offering

Investors have taken root in a 'garden living' townhouse development in northern Melbourne which offers shared garden spaces and encourages a communal atmosphere.

Six of the 14 townhouses, located at 350 Clarke Street, Northcote, have sold since November last year. Construction of the development is planned for May.

The six three-bedroom properties sold for between $695,000 and $830,000 through Michael Robinson and Tayna Sanchez at Look Property Group.

Residents will be encouraged to harvest fresh produce - such as herbs and other edible plants - that will line shared corridors between the three-level townhouses. Residents will also have their own individual gardens, the price of which is included in property.

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The gardens are designed by Melbourne duo Justin Hutchinson and Shawn Ashkanasy, from Urban Commons, who aim to blend the community garden into everyday urban spaces.

Mr Ashkanasy says the edible gardens - replete with mint, sage, thyme and decorative plants - will bring the townhouse community together.

"It's using food as a focal point to meet their neighbours and connect with their neighbours," he said.

"Living in the city doesn't mean giving up the civilility between neighbours."

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A spokesman for the development says mix of buyers have been attracted to the townhouses, which span between 130 square metres and 167 square metres.

“The overwhelming majority of purchasers are local residents who recognise the value of the area; two purchasers are currently residing in Clarke Street," the spokesperson said.

"Generally, we have seen a younger demographic of purchaser, from young couples to young families, along with two investor sales.”

The complex will have its own café from roasting house Padre Coffee, which is known for nearby The Brunswick East Project.

Foodies will also appreciate hops vines on the north facing facade and olive trees for shade.

Mr Ashkanasy said that using the olive species is a way to add to the established Greek and Italian communities in the established suburb in Northcote.

"We know that these things bring a lot of value to the cultural memories."

Body corporate will maintain the edible plants found in the shared 'corridor' spaces between townhouses, whereas residents with green thumbs will tend to their own edible plant walls.

Melbourne developer Kalex designed the townhouses, which was founded by Kyp Bosci ten years ago.

Prices for the remaining townhouses range from $695,000 to $825,000.

The design of the complex has scored 6.5 stars out of 10 in energy efficiency according to the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC). A rating of 6 out of 10 is the regulatory requirement for all new homes.

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Georgina Jeffries and Pip McCully at Designs of Wonder have fashioned the interiors featuring plenty of natural light, high ceilings and natural air flow.

Northcote’s median house price is currently $771,000 after falling from $828,500 during its peak in 2011, according to RP Data.

A three-bedroom terrace house on the same street sold for $841 000 in October 2012.

The median asking rent for a Northcote house is $520 with an indicative gross rental yield of 3.5%.

The median rent for a Northcote unit is $348, with an indicative gross rental yeidl of 3.9%.

A nearby three-bedroom villa on Clarke Street is being rented at $570 per week.

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