Located less than six kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, Flemington Racecourse occupies a 125ha site in an area undergoing significant transformation and growth. Managed by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), a long-term master plan was developed for the facility during 2009, with the aim of maximising revenue opportunities for the ongoing investment in facilities for the racecourse and significant capital expenditure undertakings such as replacement of the Member's Old Grandstand.
Part of this master plan involved the sale of non-core land to generate the funds for investment in new facilities.
Enter Greenland Group, China's largest real estate developer which acquired two sites covering a combined 40,000sqm. Known as Flemington Green and Epsom Road, these land holdings were surplus to the needs of the VRC and were offloaded to Greenland Group with the expectation of large-scale development.
The revenue from their sale would then be invested towards the development of the new Club Stand seen below.
Flemington Green occupies 30,000sqm of land, situated between Fisher Parade and Leonard Crescent. The site is located at the high point of the promontory above the Racecourse and the Maribyrnong River. The site's existing uses consist primarily of open lot car parks and three dwellings along Fisher Parade.
Epsom Road on the other hand occupies approximately 10,000sqm of land and is adjacent to the intersection of Epsom, Racecourse and Ascot Vale Roads, at the end of the Racecourse Road Activity Centre. The site is currently undeveloped with the exception of a single level building: the heritage listed Former Jockeys’ Convalescent Lodge which will be retained as part of any future development onsite.
Greenland's plans for the sites were revealed late last year when - together with the VRC - it submitted a Planning Scheme Amendment Request with the Minister for Planning, which sought to change the planning controls for both sites. This would allow for the developer to move forward with plans for its 'Flemington Life' development, consisting of four towers ranging in height from 14-storeys (AHD 73.7m) to 31-storeys (AHD 123.9m), supported by medium-density dwellings across a further six buildings.
An Indicative Development Concept (IDC) has been prepared for both sites which provides extensive details on the type of development that could be accommodated across the two sites. These do not represent the final form of any development on the site, but rather reflect the type, scale and siting of built form that maybe be permitted within the parameters proposed under the new planning controls.
The building envelopes shown in the proposed Comprehensive Development Zone for the low-rise component only allow for variations in height and setbacks.
The IDC for the Flemington Green site, as prepared by Woods Bagot, seeks the development of 736 dwellings, based on a built form that comprises three residential towers, two street level podia and a lower density precinct containing townhouse and apartment buildings up to 4-storeys. The proposal also includes scope for a small amount of ancillary retail, commercial space and community facilities that will provide local services for residents.
The architectural design response adopts a rectilinear architectural language at the perimeter of the master plan and transforms this language to a curved formal language in the centre. This curved formal language continues into the tower geometry, referencing Flemington Racecourse’s distinctive curvilinear shape.Woods Bagot
The three towers which are expected to form Flemington Green are all distinguished by individual responses to articulation of facades, which draw on the characteristics of the racecourse. These are summarised below:
The IDC for the Epsom Road seeks to deliver a high quality, high-density residential development at the apex of the Racecourse Road Activity Centre and Flemington Racecourse, providing a gateway to the precinct. The IDC allows for a 31-storey proposal with a total of 398 dwellings, based on a built form that comprises of a typical tower and podium format.
While heavy with detail, it is worth noting that the above designs and images still designated as development concepts created to provide an indication of the planning controls that Greenland Group and Woods Bagot are seeking push through. Whether the development team largely retain the above designs once each land parcel is subject to individual planning submissions remains to be seen.