Recently, Urban Melbourne wandered down to Lend Lease's Public Information Session at 838 Collins Street for their latest Docklands project, dubbed (for the time being at least) Batman's Hill Collins Street. It was a good opportunity to provide our two bob's worth and get an insight into the development and some of the key ideas which make up the scheme, from Lend Lease's project team, led by project director Brian Herlihy.
The 2.5ha site at 701 Collins Street is located at a critical juncture where the Melbourne CBD and Docklands meet - diagonally across from Southern Cross Station includes frontages to Flinders Street and partial air rights over Wurundjeri Way. The $1.6 billion precinct will go some way to completing Collins Street and strengthening the connection between Docklands and the CBD, with the introduction of commercial buildings, apartments, two significant public spaces and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths.
A brief history of the site:
The 2.5ha site formed part of what was to be the 560m Grollo Tower project and has also seen schemes developed over the years by 'starchitects' Zaha Hadid (in partnership with local firm ARM) and Norman Foster, for clients SAMA Dubai, whom had entered into exclusive negotiations for the site with VicUrban. These eventually fell through when SAMA couldn't guarantee work would commence on site within 2 years, due to financial pressures which arose as a result of the Global Financial Crisis and in 2011 the site was put out to tender once more, attracting competition from property heavy weights Grocon+Mirvac, Equiset + Australand, Lend Lease and Leightons.
After a solid year of rumours circulating around the industry that Lend Lease had won development rights to Parcels 5b, 6 & 6a, it was finally made official on August 1st 2013. Lend Lease's project team consists of Master Plan Architects DCM (Commercial), FKA (Residential) with landscape architecture by Aspect Studios.
The plans for the precinct include the following:
Taking into account the difficulties the site presents in that is required to 'bridge' over a portion of Wurundjeri Way (but not completely) and negotiating the changes in level between 'upper' Docklands and 'lower' Docklands plus the commercial realities of realising such a project, the master plan is a generally solid and competent response and Lend Lease should be commended for the strong focus on the public realm and creating activated spaces via a good mix of surrounding uses but as always there's some room for improvement, in my opinion. For example:
Lend Lease intends to submit a Development Plan, following completion of the community consultation process, for approval this year before proceeding with Planning Applications for individual towers. Construction is due to begin on Building C1 in 2015 with completion of the entire project forecast for 2025.
See below further images of the proposed plan plus various unrealised schemes for the site.
Until next time... Peace out.
For further information and to have your say on how Batmans Hill should be developed please visit: http://www.batmanshillcollinsstreet.com.au/about