It seemed implausible at the time and that has proven to be the case. Last year Urban Melbourne covered in detail the near pencil-thin office tower proposed at 272 Queen Street which ultimately gained approval, yet had not advanced beyond that point.
Implausible in that an office tower of 205 metres in height carried a typical floor plate of only 832 sqm. The commercial trend of recent years has drifted toward larger, more economically favourable open-plan floor plates with ANZ Docklands, 720 Bourke Street and 121 Exhibition Street prime examples. In this light it was speculated that 272 Queen Street would go back to project architect Peddle Thorp for reworking.
That has proven to be the case with the third and most recent site design (above right) now holding approval. The mixed-use site and permit which incidentally has been listed by Paragon Real Estate as for sale via an EOI campaign closing May 9th 2014, would now see a mixed-use development of 210 metres grace the 1288 square metre site. Somewhat odd given AFR reported in December 2013 the site was purchased by a mainland Chinese developer for $23.9 million.
Nonetheless where previously 35,561 sqm of office space was available, that number has dropped to 10,000 sqm contained within the lower levels. Consequently 624 apartments have been added with total levels numbering 62, an increase of 12. Assuming there are 50 levels of residential use and floor plates remain at 832 sqm, average apartment size for the complex would equate to over 60sqm, likely indicating a healthy proportion of two bedroom dwellings.
Externally the tower maintains its feature faceted facade addressing Queen Street and Little Lonsdale Street. Gone is the blue facade and mid tower plant level, in their place a glazed, black curtain wall with recessed balconies running the height of the tower component.
272 Queen Street is not alone with the adjoining easterly property at 399 Little Lonsdale Street (above) also currently on the market with CBRE. Another Peddle Thorp design, the prospective tower of 39 levels would carry 219 apartments, although there is scope to increase both density and height.
It'll be interesting to see who purchases either site, particularly in the case of 272 Queen Street given its perceived level of stature in the eyes of potential overseas buyers. Early days yet but together these projects have the potential to deliver well over 1000 permanent residences to a generally placid part of Melbourne's CBD.