Construction of a "unique" 68-apartment development in Warrnambool will begin to help ease the strain on the city's rental and property market by the end of summer, real estate agents say.
The first slab for the $14 million Mortlake Road development - which is made up of 58 apartments, seven townhouses and three shops with apartments - was poured this week.
The sale of The Botanic apartments are about to go on the market, and Harris & Wood director Matt Wood said there had been a massive build-up of enquiries as building activity on site ramped up.
"It's an exciting development for Warrnambool. It is unique to what we've seen previously," Mr Wood said.
"Hopefully it will relieve a lot of the housing strain we've got at the moment with lack of availability both across rentals and purchasing.
"The first lucky residents will move in this summer."
He said the rise of Airbnbs, and the popularity of Warrnambool itself, had played a part in the rental crisis.
Mr Wood said the two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses were priced at either $325,000 or $425,000, and one had already been sold.
The mix of one and two-bedroom apartments are yet to be priced.
Dubbed Warrnambool's "newest neighbourhood", the development aims to offer affordable apartment-style living.
And with Warrnambool's real estate market surging over the past 12 months, agents expect the development to attract a mix of owner-occupiers and investors.
"These apartments are unique in the Warrnambool market, offering first home buyers, downsizers and investors great value in a fantastic location," Mr Wood said.
"Everything you need within a five-minute walk. It's one of the only opportunities to get a new home in Warrnambool where a car is optional.
"There are not many places you can say that about."
The development also includes communal spaces for residents and a clubhouse.
"It's a very exciting time for all involved," Mr Wood said.
And in October last year, the development was fast-tracked under a state government plan to get shovel ready projects off the ground in the wake of the pandemic.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne amended the Warrnambool planning scheme to allow the project - which was expected to create 80 jobs - to go ahead.
Developer Mark Schneider said the first block of four apartments would be completed in summer with work on the other stages of the development set to be rolled out over the three-year project.
"I'm really excited to be bringing something like this into Warrnambool," he said.
"I'm really excited about the community feel we will be able to create here. I think that's what a lot of people want, that sense of community."
"This would really suit retirees, middle-aged singles. It's got a lot of potential."
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