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.


Development & Planning

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 12:00
Brunswick's Anstey Precinct is in for a massive shot of development as Melbourne's Nightingale Housing plans seven separate buildings in a project that will be dubbed Nightingale Village. Already accustomed to urban renewal, the area surrounding Anstey Station is set to benefit from the unprecedented move by Nightingale Housing to develop what amounts to an entire street.

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

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.