News is filtering through that CEL Australia's troubled Tower Melbourne project at 150 Queen Street may have moved closer to recommencing demolition and eventual construction following a recent Supreme Court sitting.
Displeased with perceived planning process improprieties involving 150 Queen Street (which holds Ministerial approval), owners of the adjoining 140 Queen Street had sought to challenge the Victorian Building Authority and independent statutory body the Building Appeals Board. For a detailed version of the fracas, The Age published this piece recently.
Colonial Range Pty Ltd v Victorian Building Authority & Colonial Range Pty Ltd v Building Appeals Board was slated for judgment on April 4th 2014 at the Supreme Court. It's understood Colonial Range was unsuccessful in its case, therefore removing a major obstacle in Tower Melbourne progressing. Whether this eliminates all legal impositions is unclear.
With increased hopes that Tower Melbourne's state of flux will be broken, it may gain two neighbours within close proximity down the track. Colonial Range's 140 Queen Street development has been dormant for some time although a 27 level mixed-use proposal exists, which project architect Kerstin Thompson described as follows:
This development occupies two sites in Melbourne’s CBD – one on Queen Street and the other on McKillop Street. Using air rights it bridges over Penfold Lane to link and consolidate them as a single development up to twenty seven floors. The proposed ambience of the design will build on the urban quality of Melbourne’s renown laneway precincts.
The tower and the podiums accommodate serviced apartments and office suites. The ground floors and level 1 of both podiums accommodate retail. The hotel lobby will occupy the western end of the McKillop Street podium and will open out to the newly created pedestrian lane at the corner of Penfold Lane. In support of the residential and hotel use the development also allows for meeting rooms and a gymnasium. It includes private and common landscape areas such as balconies and generous roof gardens.
The layout and detail of the building envelope provides many opportunities for passive environmental design including a good quality of natural light and ventilation to the residential/office suites. The design assumes operable windows which in combination with the balconies and breezeways will facilitate cross flow ventilation. The various facade treatments include shading, thermal and tinted glazing for improved thermal performance.Kerstin Thompson, project architect
Abutting Tower Melbourne to the east is 405 Bourke Street which stands at the ready to attract a large commercial tenant. The 160 metre tower has the capacity to supply Melbourne with over 61,000 sq.m of additional premium office space and near 4000 sq.m of additional retail space, adding to the existing Foundry retail centre onsite. Designed by Woods Bagot and developed/built by Brookfield Australia/Brookfield Multiplex, the development would also feature an all new Gills Alley.
There it is, three towers within a stones throw of one another. All or none may be built; that's the nature of the development game.