The Influencers: James Tutton

Market Insights
7 years ago
6 minutes

Neometro, one of Melbourne’s leading development companies, is leading the charge with a $70 million redevelopment of the Jewell Station precinct in Melbourne’s hip inner-northern suburb of Brunswick. Combining distinctive design, community infrastructure and sustainability, the renewal plan will activate the site near the intersection of Sydney Road and Brunswick Street, bringing together commercial uses, community activities, social enterprises and a number of one and two bedroom apartments, to create an urban village.

We sat down with Neometro Director James Tutton to chat about the redevelopment, what buyers should look for when purchasing, and how his business has joined a growing global movement.


1. Neometro is leading a wave of businesses who care about more than their bottom line, can you tell us what it means to be the property industry's first certified B Corporation?

B Corporation is a US-based accreditation of businesses that set high standards in community, environmental, governance and social endeavours. 

Since Neometro’s beginning in 1985, we’ve been involved in developing and supporting social and community initiatives so we were very proud to become the first property group in Australia to be a certified B Corp. 

This certification means we’re among those leading a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good. 

2. How relevant is this certification to developers and the people who will come to live in their projects? 

There are quantifiable benefits for businesses that look beyond profit, especially those within the property industry, as buildings cannot succeed without community. 

Sustainable developments go beyond a profit margin to deliver housing that supports positive wellbeing and resilient communities. These projects are rich in platforms to meet new people, join discussions, form creative partnerships and realise ideas that give back. 

For example, at Jewell Station we’ve taken into account the physical attributes of apartments that support wellbeing, such as sound insulation and natural light, as well as the external environment, where we’ve prioritised pedestrians and cyclists over cars and created beautiful green spaces for people to enjoy. 

Further, Neometro supports a wide variety of arts programs and social initiatives that unite their community with shared interests and new ideas. Urban farming group 3000acres, Slopes Gallery, Phase One Coffee (formerly Place Holder), Smiling Mind and Open Journal are the social pillars of our vision of High Density Happiness and, at our New Urban Village at Jewell Station, we are bringing these partners together for an ongoing program covering arts, design, wellness and food. 

3. As part of the launch of the New Urban Village at Jewell Station you're hosting a speaker series on High Density Happiness. Can you tell us about the concept and what it means? 

A study commissioned by the National Heart Foundation of Australia outlined the many truths about the flow-on effects of increased density in Australian housing. The research outlined a clear template of how to deliver projects that will contribute to a world that is physically, emotionally and environmentally healthy. 

By embracing the findings of this study and rethinking our approach to project development, Neometro is striving to deliver social, physical, psychological and cultural benefits to the communities in which we operate and this reaches far beyond the aesthetic impact of beautiful streetscapes. 

The High Density Happiness speaker series, which will take place at the Jewell Station events hub on a fortnightly basis following the project’s launch in August formalises this discussion. 

We’ll be partnering with industry leaders including The School of Life, B Corp and RMIT to deliver panel sessions hosted by Open Journal Editor Laura Phillips on topics including ‘Curbing urban sprawl’, ‘Vacant to verdant’ and ‘Beyond the bottom line’. 


4. What kinds of things positively contribute to ‘High Density Happiness’? 

Having community infrastructure has a positive impact on the physical and emotional well being of people. The community infrastructure however needs to be something whereby people can either opt in or out. 

What we have done at Jewel Station is not create a situation where people have to share laundries or are forced into that co-habitation, but rather they can choose to use community gardens or meditate in the outdoor leisure space and that ability to decide for themselves has a major impact on their well being. 

And of course you also look at lighting, security, walkability and proximity to retail, education and transport. They're all factors that contribute to physical and mental wellbeing in terms of people's living environment. 

5. How does Neometro implement these principles? 

At Jewell Station we’re bringing together distinctive design, sustainability and community infrastructure to create a New Urban Village. It’s about shaping a sense of place that supports the wellbeing of those who live in the apartments as well as in the broader community. 

Jewell Station is truly a collective endeavour that integrates apartment living with social infrastructure. New bike paths, communal gardens, public arts and events programs, a rejuvenated local park, cafés, independent retail and meditation spaces, are the foundations on which a new creative community will be built. 

To us, a home is much more than four walls and a roof. Building spaces that promote creative and connected communities is at the core of our values. 

6. What should buyers look for when choosing an apartment? 

Buyers should ask themselves whether the apartment in question is somewhere where they could live happily, no matter the season or time of year. Is there access to natural light? Will they feel safe? Does the apartment offer respite from the busy outside world and, just as importantly, opportunities to connect. 

For more information on Jewell Station and the High Density Happiness speaker series hosted by Open Journal Editor Laura Phillips, please visit and