The Fifth State – Lucent expands its sustainable apartments from the inner city to Brighton

Written by Poppy Johnston – The Fifth State

Melbourne-based developer Lucent is branching out and taking its sustainable brand of apartments to the growing owner-occupier family and downsizer market in Brighton, 12 kilometres south east of the CBD

The company, which is responsible for Nightingale and Little Miller apartment projects in Brunswick East that are nearing completion, has also been busy on a new project in the heartland of sustainable living in Melbourne’s Brunswick East called the Stewart Collective.

Here, says development director Sophie Whittakers, sustainability is “almost expected now.”

In Brighton, the company is branching into territory where sustainability might still be a novel idea.

In fact, the Slate House will be the suburb’s first fossil fuel free apartments.

Designed by Austin Maynard Architects. It will consist of eight two-bedroom and six three-bedroom residences, ranging from 90–200 square metres in size, over three levels. The development has just been granted development approval.

The developers have managed a NatHERS rating of 7.8, and other sustainability features include an embedded network, high-efficiency appliances and rainwater harvesting.

See Mix mode finance is key to new Nightingale project

Brighton is “its own little hub,” Whittakers says, and jokes that its residents are often reluctant to leave even just for the day.

It’s a downsizing market where people are looking to sell a larger family home and move into something smaller with less maintenance and hassle.

Unlike Brunswick, where the sustainability message has definitely sunk in, Whittakers suspects at Brighton there will be an educational element for prospective buyers.

The typical buyer in the area is not hugely interested in the financial benefits of low energy bills, but would likely see it as a bonus, she says. But privacy is something that worries this cohort, which becomes a selling point because a thermally efficient building fabric also has good acoustic performance.

Whittakers also hopes that the downsizer market might be influenced by their children, who are likely to be more invested in the environment and climate.

The plan is to communicate directly with potential buyers. “If you put a face behind the developer, they know they are dealing with real people.”

With only 14 apartments, Whittakers expects the community to thrive organically. She says that complexes of 40 apartments and above make it difficult for people to interact.

Slate House will be in walking distance from the Church Street retail precinct, as well as local schools, transport and parks.

The Stewart Collective is designed by Austin Maynard Architects