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Third time lucky for 248 City Road

The wraps are off what is the third coming for a Southbank development site perched above the Kings Way overpass. Now known as Bellla Apartments, the site has seen two high-profile failures in getting a residential development out of the ground.

Initially designed by Crone Partners for Wadhawan Group / DEC, the scheme saw planning approval granted during 2012 for a tower of 207 apartments. Labelled as Verge, the 32-level project also would have also housed 39 car spaces, 102 bicycles spaces, and a residents gym.

Its vibrant façade screens the car parking beyond and delivers an interesting, rhythmic pattern to those using Kings Way and when viewed approaching from the east. The obtuse corner to the site has been embraced as a tool to define an important city block and to guide the building’s façade around the corner. The building then sets back along City Rd to reinforce the existing planning parameters.

The tower’s elegance is reinforced by its slender proportions and the subtle variation across the main facades. The bold, dark, solid façade elements make a dramatic statement, whether viewed during the day or at night.

Crone Partners
A reworked initial concept delivered as Bella Apartments. Images courtesy Crone & Salvo Property Group

Amidst a swirl of media attention and sizeable sporting sponsorships, history will show Wadhawan Group / DEC's grand plans for Melbourne which involved three separate projects going to sales (including the sprawling 1,200 apartment 400 City Road project) simultaneously amounted to little more than the mid-rise Elan project in South Yarra.

Some time later 608 Property Group signage appeared over the site hoardings. Although 608 Property Group had successfully delivered the high-rise Tiara project nearby, ultimately the development firm mirrored the rapid rise and fall of its Director, once more plunging the project into obscurity and buyers into another period of uncertainty.

The current state of play

Site works commenced early last year, although the site has laid dormant for the best part of twelve months to date. In the interim established property player and Melbourne-based Salvo Property Group had assumed control over the project, labelling it Bella Apartments.

With tower footings in place, mass design adjustments have been avoided, rather a tweaking of the external finishes has occurred with the addition of two extra levels. It's understood Urban Design Architects have been tasked with augmenting the initial design, continuing a partnership with Salvo which has yielded multiple residential towers in the past.

Turquoise highlights have been applied to the podium and tower; in conjunction with the marketing material, the turquoise elements and name changed have served to differentiate the current proposal from past failed incarnations. Brookfield Multiplex have added Bella to their building Melbourne construction roster, with works expected to restart shortly for the project with a varied history.

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