Yarraville Gardens moving up in the world

"An unparalleled opportunity to define Melbourne's inner city landscape forever." Not so long ago this may have been considered marketing hyperbole yet every instance where revised renders of the Yarraville Gardens site surface, the project density increases considerably. Unparalleled opportunity; well there may well be an element of truth to that statement.

Currently for sale, the stupendously large 240,000sqm parcel was formerly the home of Bradmill. With the manufacturer long gone, the site was demolished recently in anticipation of "Incorporating a mixture of residential, retail and commercial components. A neighbourhood shopping centre is proposed for the north-east corner of the Bradmill site which will incorporate a supermarket, specialties and a small number of non-retail commercial tenants.

These comments were taken from an Essential Economics report tabled during 2006 and facilitated by Maribyrnong City Council on the basis of 1000 new dwellings. Since that point it's been interesting viewing renders of the development site come and go, all the while a noticeable increase in project density evident.

The latest iteration above sees Peddle Thorp deliver a scheme with no less than 13 apartment buildings, seemingly between 10 and 25 levels; a scale of development not envisaged for Yarraville Gardens until now. Gone are any signs of detached housing, rather terrace/townhouse rows line the streets, most of which are four levels in height with the development yielding a minimum 1500 dwellings. Many more are possible should the site developer seek a higher density as expected.

The north-east corner of the site has been portioned off to deliver "A 10,000sqm neighbourhood shopping centre, a new 800sqm Yarraville library and more than 400 onsite car parks" according to selling agent CBRE. This centre will not only cater for existing nearby residents but for the expected 7000 plus residents expected to call Yarraville Gardens home once complete. Interestingly enough the YouTube marketing video suggests that even higher densities can be achieved with all levels of council in support of such a move.

With a sale price tag of $100 million plus, Yarraville Gardens draws parallels to the recent sale of the Amcor site in Alphington in terms of size, total dwellings and proximity to Melbourne's CBD. While Amcor will be predominantly low-rise with buildings peaking around eight levels, Yarraville Gardens will seemingly take the high-rise option. Whether the higher density high-rise outcome leads to ample tracts of open space as illustrated above is another question - but you certainly hope so.

An influx of potentially 7000 residents also raises questions of infrastructure. Nine pre schools and primary schools are immediately east of the site, yet a simple Google search shows there are no secondary colleges nearby. And what of public transport options or the residents of Francis Street? For so long they have campaigned to have freight trucks removed from the area - you may well get your wish but in return have a few extra thousand private vehicles use Francis Street daily - or worse yet, both.

Regardless a site of this magnitude is certainly one to watch and given the scale of the development a website has been created to assist with the sales process, which includes a sleek promotional video for Yarraville Gardens. The expression of interest campaign closed early August so a public statement as to the buyer should be imminent.

Until that announced and subsequent development plans are firmed, I guess it's a case of sitting back and enjoying the views!


Martin Mankowski's picture

Wow! What a difference to the first few iterations. I was really worried this would turn out to be another Beacon Cove style low rise disaster. Love the row of towers along the railway line, and given they are hidden away from the existing residential areas, it should alleviate the residents concerns.

And now my predictable rant - public transport here is a HUGE concern. Currently there is only 1 bus which services the area, and only goes within a few hundred metres of the north east tip of this development. And as mentioned above, Francis street is already clogged with trucks. As for the nearby Williamstown Rd/Westgate Fwy interchange lets not even go there - its already a peak hour car park to rival even the Monash and Western Ring Roads at their worst.

However it does sit on a railway line, currently only used for freight purposes. Whilst it may not be viable to run as a dedicated heavy rail service, it may be a good candidate for a light rail service. Its already a standard gauge track, and could service this development and the recently gentrified area of South Kingsville perfectly. It would provide good links to the city via its end points of Sunshine and Newport, whilst also providing a inter suburb orbital service, something currently only really achieved in Melbourne by the smart buses. And of course, would be a logical extension to the light rail service i proposed for Altona/Williamstown a while back.  Newport could become a real transport hub!

Rant over.  Back to the actual development, I really hope this gets up soonish, the gestation period has been quite long.  So much exciting development happening in the West!

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Marcio Wilges's picture

It is common for developers to initiate projects that get rid of row houses and replace the area with high-rise apartments instead for dwelling purposes. The initiative provides them with an opportunity to save land space and build even more structures for both residential and commercial usages. Such projects nevertheless are often time-consuming as they need approvals from authorities and homeowners as well who need to plan their house removals and processes.

Marcio Wilges

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