Image © Buchan Group

New proposals seek to join the 200m club

Many readers would recall an article published early December titled 'Are 200m residential towers the new norm for Melbourne?' in which Urban Melbourne touched upon fourteen towers aiming to take their place in the city's burgeoning skyline.  From planning assessment to construction fourteen is a sizeable number, yet such is the dynamic state of Melbourne's apartment market coupled with the willingness of Asian-backed developers, Urban Melbourne can today unveil further proposals that would have a profound presence on Melbourne's silhouette if realised.

Metier 3 architects design generally atypical buildings and 25-35 Power Street Southbank is no exception.  The firms first large-scale design will see the now vacant block transformed into a unique Melbourne built form landmark.  With a concave form accentuated by a swept wing facing Power Street, the 70 storey, 274 metre mixed-use complex has been conceived for recent site purchaser Freshwater No 6 Pty Ltd.

Another behemoth is also seeking approval with AXF Group championing the redevelopment of their plot at 180 Russell Street, seen below right.  Seeking to replace the 1965 Total Car Park complex, Buchan Group architects have created a shimmering 70 level, 271 metre mixed-use complex.  With impressive street frontages and a chameleon-like facade this development may encounter opposition from heritage groups expecting the retention of the existing Japanese Burtalist-style complex, which carries a B grading in terms of heritage according to Melbourne City council.

No article could be written at the moment without the presence of Elenberg Fraser, with three additional entries complementing their existing 200 metre + designs > Tower Melbourne, Victoria Tower and 127-141 A'Beckett Street.  

Below left is the current version of 450 Elizabeth Street which at 61 levels and 197 metres is now subject to a revised planning application which would boost the floor count to 67 levels and height comfortably beyond 200 metres.  The jungle drums say site owner Sixth Grange Pty Ltd has formed a joint venture with an Asian-backed developer currently active within Melbourne's CBD and that a sales campaign will commence within months.

Inset sees the only image currently available of 250 La Trobe Street, directly opposite Melbourne Central.  The 50 and 78 level tower at approximately 250 metres in height is set to feature 500 plus residential apartments in a star shaped complex with opulent finishes. According to Elenberg Fraser principal Callum Fraser, “This development will offer one of the most generous provision of communal facilities to the residents and this will set the project apart from the rest in the market.” 

Last but not least is Elenberg Fraser's revised scheme for 380 Lonsdale Street. At the behest of bullish Singaporean developer Hiap Hoe, Elenberg Fraser have delivered a 50 and 60 level mixed-use complex with the taller northern tower nigh on if not over the 200 metre mark.  With Aloft Hotels waiting in the wings to operate the hotel component, 380 Lonsdale like the previous two is looking for a 2014 public sales launch.

So, a Melbourne Cup-sized field of 200 metre plus residential towers looms on Melbourne's horizon.

As outlined in December's piece, Asian developers operate beyond the stringent conditions that local developers face in financing their projects.  Additionally the majority of Asian developers are generally robust, well established, well financed property development firms overseas prior to inserting themselves in the local market.

Consequently the likelihood of most of the now 19 proposals of 200 metres or more coming to fruition is quite high.  With this in mind it's plausible to suggest this is a watershed time for Melbourne.  The size, character and feel of Melbourne will change markedly, along with its skyline, most likely triggering debate once the scope and size of these proposal in their entirety are realised by the wider public - although this is a topic for another day.  

Detailed articles on the above proposals/planning applications will follow in due course, beginning with 25-35 Power Street later this week.

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.