Urban Melbourne's Top 5 Picks: Planning Assessment July 2013

The editor's picks from the project database: Planning Assessment status, July 2013. See our top five picks for Under Construction in June 2013.

5. 204-210 Ballarat Road, Maidstone

Why do we like it? Maidstone/Braybrook/Sunshine is the possibly one of the last regions of Melbourne the average Joe would think apartments would have a place. But when you see a project like this pop up, you have to sit up and take notice. 5 levels and on a major road which has the capacity to be a major East-West Bus Rapid Transit route into and out of the Footscray CAD, 204-210 Ballarat Road is sure to set a precedent.

4. Packington Apartments - 44 Packington Street, St Kilda

Why do we like it? Excellent Public Transport links nearby, low-rise and epitomises the type of building which the Transforming Australian Cities strategy calls for in or near appropriate public transport corridors all over Melbourne.

3. 81 Argyle Street, Fitzroy

Why do we like it? Another perfect TAC example - low-rise, increases density, superb public transport links nearby on Nicholson and Johnston Streets. I'm calling it: it looks as if it will become a hidden gem - much like how it's possible stumble upon multiple interesting buildings in the CBD when you navigate labyrinth of laneways, 81 Argyle, positioned back from the main thoroughfares, will provide ample surprise factor for people who choose to go meandering in the back streets of Fitzroy. Wood facade? Yes please!

2. 150 Turner Street, Port Melbourne

Why do we like it? 150 Turner only popped up on the radar as early as this week. Kudos to the architect for boldly going with a green facade - it's not a colour one would say has been executed all that well in Melbourne to date. Nevertheless, looking at all angles the building has many appealling features: no single facade will be the same, a unique podium facade will add to street-level interest and overall the height, bulk and general characteristics look to, on paper, agree with much of what the City of Port Phillip have outlined as part of the Montague Structure Plan (albeit, this tower is proposed in the adjacent Lorimer precinct) - this is definitely one to watch.

1. Queensbridge Tower - 1-23 Queensbridge Street, Southbank

Why do we like it? Bates Smart. The name commands respect - after all they are one of this country's oldest firms - of Royal Exhibition Building, ICI House and adjacent Freshwater Place (to name but a few) fame. Where certain soundbites will pan the height of new skyscraper developments almost universally, we say: Queensbridge Tower will add to the collection of towers on Southbank already as high and as diverse as the entire Perth CBD furthermore enhancing Southbank's own evolving hyper-density identity.

The urban tall is just as important as the urban small.

Agree or disagree? Let us know!


Ian Woodcock's picture

I have no problem with higher-density buildings per se, and in general support the agenda of this site. However, it would be more useful if your 'detailed information' section about these projects included information on: a) type & size of accommodation - i.e. not just number of dwellings, but numbers of bedrooms, and floor areas, balcony sizes; floor areas of commercial and retail components (and number and size of retail units, preferably); and very important - b) car parking - breakdown in terms of spaces for residential, commercial and retail and public uses, and whether or not any spaces for 'car share' programs is provided; and also c) bike parking spaces; and d) ESD aspects - green star ratings (and the basis on which these are derived). Otherwise, it may be assumed that these podium-and-tower proposals follow the usual pattern of provision in the inner city - namely, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, amply supplied with car parking, that will not necessarily contribute towards the goals of a low-carbon city in terms of population diversity/family-friendliness, active modes of transportation and environmentally-sustainable building design.

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Mark Baljak's picture

You raise a number of valid points there Ian, theoretically not too hard to incorporate factors such as bedroom options, carparking breakdown and green star ratings - feedback such as yours will mould what details we provide over time.

As for more specific details such as floor area, layouts, sizes, etc they're generally easily sourced yet we've made the conscious decision to hold back as these are critical to any developers sales & marketing campaign. Ours is a young website and we rely on the goodwill of many parties (including developers naturally) to bring together as much data as possible.

To that end we're quite happy for the time being for developers/sales agents to voluntarily provide details such as apartment sqm, prices etc, which we will then publish. Mind you we hope to change this in due course.


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