During 2011 developer MAB Corporation purchased the ING Real Estate owned and developed Waterfront City land parcel immediately fronting Victoria Harbour. Struggling with poor public perceptions and a lack of foot traffic brought on in part by delays to the Southern Star observation wheel, MAB stepped in with plans to redevelop the area considered by some to be poorly planned, windswept and unappealing. Media releases at the time carried a master-planned concept by DKO Architects, such as that below, showing five towers surrounding a new central park, one such tower - a waterfront hotel designed to provide a buffer against prevailing southerly winter winds. At the time a MAB spokesperson stated “The scheme will revitalise the existing retail, community and public realm by creating a major public park, residential buildings and an international hotel.”
February 2013 saw MAB release limited images of the first two towers, with the initial Cool Silver residential tower to have its public sales launch in early April. Designed by Woods Bagot Architects, Cool Silver along with its larger bronze sibling are the first two of the five planned buildings to launch.
Further, the images below show for the first time the next phase of Newquay Promenade highlighted by the waterfront hotel. Designed by en vogue architects McBride Charles Ryan, the building is impressive when viewed from the south, but downright incredible when viewed from the north. Although the model images below aren't spectacular, they do give a clear indication that when built it has the potential to become an iconic Melbourne building. Defined by its sloping semi-circle form, the waterfront hotel will be a truly impressive sight to behold and very much a unique shape on the Melbourne skyline.
Equal to any notable towers are the open spaces and active frontages that this development will produce. The current complex is a malaise of average looking shopfronts with what I think is a poorly placed circus tent located mid plaza stifling sight lines. At the time ING Real Estate Developments CEO Greg Boyd said: “This scheme will provide a green, north-sun-facing public park to the south boundary of Harbour Town and also connect, as one, the currently-severed east and west NewQuay precincts.” Thankfully that plan has been adhered to with one of the largest green spaces in Docklands to be created, part of which is seen below. With both trams 70 and 86 terminating in the area, pedestrians will have the ability to step off directly into the park - a far more palatable prospect than what is there at the moment.
MAB Corporation feel they have struck the right mixture in this development, finally ensuring the success of a site that to date has been an abject failure. Whilst this article has been more overview than analysis, Urban Melbourne will in coming days and weeks provide more details on all proposed MAB Newquay buildings including the last two towers of Newquay Promenade and McBride Charles Ryan's hotel. As for now, McBride Charles Ryan's current offering is powering ahead at Newquay further east toward the city.
Click here so see additional images of the highly impressive and colourful Quays residential complex under construction.