Project Review by Property Mash: June 16, 2016 - Updated: May 3, 2017
This is independent editorial content written by a PropertyMash Journalist. While we try to ensure all information is as accurate as possible, please double check with the developer or real estate agent directly before making a purchasing decision. The information contained within this article may be incorrect or out of date.
  • Located on Carl Street in Woolloongabba (4102)
  • 89 apartments over 12 levels
  • 40 x one (1) bedroom units, 47 x two (2) bedroom units and 2 x three (3) bedroom units
  • Prices range from $355,000 to $863,000
  • Affordable, investment-grade apartments
  • Within walking distance of Princess Alexandra Hospital, Buranda Shopping Centre, Buranda Train Station and the Buranda Bus Station
  • Option to be purchased at a discount through the property fund that is managed by the developer
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Construction is yet to start at Sapphire Apartments. The site is currently a house. Photo taken 08/06/2016.

Sapphire Apartments is a being developed by Quantum Group, who specialise in creating apartments for investors. As such, Sapphire Apartments are predominantly targeted towards the investor market.

Construction is yet to start on Sapphire Apartments.  The building is due to be completed in December 2017 and will consist of 89 investment-grade apartments over 12 levels. The main appeal of Sapphire Apartments will be its affordable price point and close proximity to employment, transport and shopping.

The site is on Carl Street in Woolloongabba, within walking distance of Princess Alexandra Hospital, Buranda Shopping Centre, Buranda Train Station and the Buranda Bus Station. This street has several new apartment projects underway and in the planning stages.  It is in a small pocket of Woolloongabba that is currently undergoing a significant period of transformation.  This means that there will be a large amount of construction going on in the short term.  However, in the long run, it is possible that the area will emerge as a busy and popular precinct of Inner Brisbane.

The Project:

A distinguishing feature of the Sapphire Apartments project is the integration of a green wall down the front side of the building.  This design feature is quickly gaining popularity in new buildings across Brisbane, but it is great to see it integrated into a building such as this where there is a natural focus on affordability.

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Render of the rooftop deck and pool.  Supplied by developer.

Residents of Sapphire Apartments will get a shared rooftop space above level 12 that has a timber pool deck, pool and a covered recreational area.  There is no ground floor retail space in this building.  This means that there are apartments on the ground floor.  Two of the ground floor apartments on the rear side of the building have the benefit of a larger outdoor living area and courtyard space.

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Render of outdoor living area in ground floor apartment. Supplied by developer.

In terms of car parking, there a four levels of basement parking levels.  The majority of apartments in the building come with one (1) car park as standard.  However, the four (4) three bedroom apartments have two car parks and a handful of one (1) bedroom apartments have been sold without a car park.  Some of the car parking in the building has been allocated as tandem spaces, whilst the majority is side-by-side.

Location:

Sapphire Apartments is located on Carl Street in Woolloongabba.  There are apartment buildings on either side of the site and houses across the road.  The area is a small residential pocket of Woolloongabba that is situated in between the Pacific Motorway and Ipswich Road, which are both major roads.  There is currently a house on the site that will be transported to a block in Bardon before construction starts.

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Panoramic photo taken from the front of the Sapphire Apartments site. The building in the far left is a new apartment building close to completion, the building in the middle is a recently completed apartment building and in the far right is the established building that is next door to Sapphire Apartments. Photo taken 08/06/2016.

In the immediate vicinity of the site at 32 Carl Street, there are several new apartment buildings under construction.  When we visited the site on the 8th of June, 2016, we counted four new apartment buildings that where nearing completion.  There is one at the corner of Carl Street and Cornwall Street, approximately 200m away from Sapphire Apartments called Palazzo.  There is also one in Wolseley Street called Vicinity and two in Regent Street, which runs immediately parallel to Carl Street.  These are called Princess Regent and Empire.  On top of this, there is a recently completed building on Carl Street and another apartment building that is due to hit the market soon called Essence.

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Recently completed building on Carl Street. Photo taken 08/06/2016.

The major benefit of this location is the convenience of transport.  Within ten minutes walk, there is the Buranda Bus Station and the PA Hospital Bus Station.  These stations are each on the South East Busway and the Eastern Busway respectively.

Both of these stations have frequent services that run to the CBD and other parts of Brisbane.  For example, on weekdays, the Buranda Bus Station has services that run every 3 minutes that go to The CBD and The Mater hospital, which is a major employment node.  Since these services run along the South East Busway, the trip to the Mater Hospital takes just two minutes and a trip to the City takes eight minutes.  It is not likely that the people who live in these apartments will need a car to travel to work, which is a major advantage for investors and a key selling point for first home buyers.

On top of this, both the Buranda Train Station and Dutton Park Train Station are within walking distance.  The Buranda Train Station is just 500m away, whilst the Dutton Park Train Station is 1km away. These train stations are located on the Cleveland Line and the Beenleigh Line respectively, giving Sapphire Apartments residents easy access to wider Brisbane.  Both of these train lines also run through the major interchanges at Roma Street and Central Station.  Both of these train lines also run through the major interchanges at Roma Street and Central Station and they are both located just five stops away from Central Station.  A trip into the CBD takes only 15 minutes from either of these stations.

Approximately 500m away from Sapphire Apartments, there is a small group of shops called Buranda Village.  This complex has a Woolworths and Target, as well as Sushi Train, Nando’s and Commonwealth Bank.  Adjacent to this complex is another small set of shops that has a butcher, cafe and a small deli.

Another advantage Sapphire Apartments’ location, particularly for investors, is how close it is to the PA Hospital.  This hospital is one of Brisbane’s major employers and it is located a 500m walk from Sapphire Apartments.  On top of this, the Mater Hospital complex is just down the road.  It is easily accessible by car, or from the Buranda Bus Station, which has services that go past the Mater Hospital every 3 minutes.  For people living at Sapphire Apartments, a bus trip from the Buranda Bus Station to the Mater Hospital will only take two minutes.  Brisbane’s CBD, which is Queensland’s largest employment node, is also easily accessible from Sapphire Apartments.  As stated above, it is just eight minutes by bus or 15 minutes by train.

Woolloongabba is an attractive suburb for renters.  According to CoreLogic, the proportion of people renting in the suburb has been increasing and it now sits at 59%.  The demographic make-up of the suburb is consistent with renters and first-home buyers.  The median age of people in Woolloongabba is 31 years and people aged between 25 and 34 constitute the largest age bracket in the area.

Quality and Finishes:

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There are two colour scheme options at Sapphire Apartments. Photo taken at the sales display 30/05/2016.

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As the target market for Sapphire Apartments is predominantly investors, the fixtures and fittings are modern but economical.  Delonghi has supplied all of the kitchen appliances including the microwave, oven cooktop and dishwasher.  The splash back in the kitchen is made of large tiles and the benchtops are 20mm reconstituted stone.  The bathroom fittings such as shower head and taps are polished chrome and the basin is wall mounted.

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Actual kitchen as seen in display office detailing tile splash back, chrome sink and Delonghi cooktop. Photo taken onsite 30/05/2015.

There is split system air-conditioning in the main living area and some bedrooms.  There is no mock up of the bedroom fittings in the on-site display, however we have been told that they will have white laminate built-in wardrobes and will be carpeted.  There is, however, a mockup of the kitchen and bathroom at the sales display so it is worth heading down there to see the exact finishes that will be in these apartments upon completion.

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Actual kitchen as seen in the display suite, detailing all fixtures and fittings. Photo taken onsite 30/05/2016

Investment Analysis – Rent / Onsite Managers:

Sapphire Apartments have been created to make financial sense as an investment.  A key difference of these apartments when compared to other new investment properties in Brisbane is their ability to be purchased at an 8% discount through Quantum Group’s QReal property trust.  Doing this does involve a higher deposit and regular down-payments.  There are several different options to purchase through QReal and the process is quite detailed.  If you are an investor, we would recommend getting in contact with Quantum Group so that they can go through the process in detail with you.

At the time of writing this review, Sapphire Apartments were in the process of updating the rental appraisals for all apartments in the building.  Brent, the sales agent on-site, advised PropertyMash that he tells his clients that Linton apartments will yield an approximate rental return of 4%, which we believe is a realistic expectation.  Rental returns have softened across Brisbane over the past 12 months as the market experiences a slight downturn after several years of  relatively high rents and very tight vacancy rates.

Competitor Projects:

As mentioned above, there are several other apartment buildings in this small pocket of Woolloongabba. Empire, Palazzo, Princess Regent and Vicinity are all nearby and nearing completion.  These buildings are all similar to Sapphire Apartments in that they target investors.  A key difference with Sapphire Apartments is the fact that construction has not yet begun, so it is not as far along as the other buildings.  For buyers, this means that there will be more apartments remaining for sale and thus, more choice.  Also another key difference in this building whne compared to the others in the area is the ability to purchase through the QReal fund.

Developer & Builder Overview:

Quantum Group is the developer of this project and they are also the financier.  This is a unique development group in that they arrange funding for the project and also offer special financial tools that allow purchasers to acquire apartments at a discount.  Put simply, they specialise in properties that are truly investment assets.  

They also have a successful track record of delivering projects.  Since its 1999 inception, Quantum Group has delivered $1.4 billion worth of residential and commercial property developments.  

At the time of writing this review, the developer had not yet selected a builder to deliver this project.

Sales Display & Contacts:

The Sapphire Apartments sales display is located on the corner of Wellington Road and Stanley Street in Woolloongabba.  It is open from 10am to 6pm weekdays and appointments are recommended.  The sales display has a scale model of the building, as well as a fully fitted out kitchen.  There are also mock-ups of how the bathroom and shower will look, along with fixtures boards.

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Model of Sapphire Apartments in display. Photo taken 08/06/2016.

This display office also serves as the display for Linton, which is another apartment building by Quantum Group that is located nearby in Kangaroo Point.  If you are looking for an investment property, it is definitely worthwhile to book an appointment at this office and view both of these properties at the same time.

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Entrance to the display office.

The sales display is not on the same site as Sapphire Apartments.  They are located 5 minutes away from each other by car.

Developer Promotional Video:

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