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Docklander - October 2015

30 Sep 2015

Docklander - October 2015 Image

The local developer

David Napier has the shortest commute of anyone he knows.

Each morning he steps out of his front door, walks down one flight of stairs and then steps into his office.

His 30-second commute is just one of the reasons Mr Napier loves living and working in Docklands.

As an executive director of Digital Harbour Holdings, Mr Napier has been involved with Docklands since 1999, when he was part of a successful bid to develop the Digital Harbour precinct.

When the development agreement for the precinct was signed in December 2000, Docklands was still at a very “embryonic” stage, according to Mr Napier.

“At that time, the only development that had been undertaken and was nearing completion was the stadium,” Mr Napier said. “Very shortly after that the residential towers started at NewQuay.”

Development of Digital Harbour was kick-started by the construction of the Innovation building, then 1010 LaTrobe, followed by Life.Lab.

After construction of the mixed-use strata Life.Lab building was completed in 2008, Mr Napier moved in to an apartment there from his Toorak home and hasn’t looked back since.

“We intended to live here for one or two years just to see how we liked it and how we fitted in and then planned to go back to Toorak,” Mr Napier said. “But, as it turns out, we love it here.”

“We love it for the access to the city,” Mr Napier said. “We walk everywhere, the cars sit in the garage for most of the week.”

“We enjoy the restaurants in the city, the cinema, we walk to all of those things or we jump on the tram because it’s right outside the front door.”

And it appears Mr Napier will be sticking around, with plans to move into Digital Harbour’s next residential and hotel project, The Altus, once completed.

“We love it here, we’ve watched it grow,” Mr Napier said.

He says he has also watched the progress of London’s Docklands and says the two urban renewal projects are incredibly similar, albeit the Melbourne’s Docklands being 10 years behind.

“The building out of that area (London Docklands) has basically reached saturation and the value of the property there has now increased substantially in-line with that saturation,” Mr Napier said. “I think that’s going to happen here.”

“In Melbourne’s Docklands, in another five to ten years when we reach close to saturation, people will wake up and look in this direction and say ‘wow, that’s so close, so convenient’, and the prices will reflect that,” he said.

Evidently committed to the success of the area on a personal and professional level, Mr Napier also also been a vocal advocate for the completion of the Harbour Esplanade redevelopment.

“I’m passionate about getting that done because I think that is the link between the north of the harbour and the south of the harbour, the stadium, the city and the waterfront,” Mr Napier said.

“It really is the bit of blank canvas in the middle that will make it all come together.”

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