Eastern promises - an overview of Melbourne CBD's East End developments

The flow of development to Melbourne CBD's East End began as a trickle relative to surrounding inner city precincts, but the 'Paris End' of late has come into its own. 'Paris End' of course is an ill-fitting moniker (some would also say crass) with current development within the CBD's eastern flank well spread, as opposed to being centralised around Collins Street's historic grandeur.

Bound by Flinders, Elizabeth, Spring and Victoria, Urban Melbourne's Project Database shows a mass of East End developments looking to make their mark. Historically the domain of commercial development, East End was bereft of residential projects as developers favoured proven areas such as Southbank and Docklands, although this trend his has now changed sharply!

Spurred on in part by the phenomenal influx of Asian-based property entities, East End proposals have steadily increased over the last two years as the insatiable push to secure prized sites in the current market shows no signs of slowing; an arms race of property development for lack of a better analogy.

All shapes and sizes of proposals within East End

Apartment development leading the charge

Below is a summary of East End residential projects currently found within the Urban Melbourne Project Database. Given the ever dynamic nature of development and planning at the moment, these may require refreshing in a few weeks time. Regardless, this is the current state of play concerning residential projects within East End.

Address Apartments Developer Levels Staus
398 Elizabeth Street 474 Mammoth Empire 55 Registration & Sales
318 Russell Street 433 PDG & Schiavello 57 Construction
276 Russell Street 154 Unknown 36 Approved
500 Elizabeth Street 524 Brady Group 72 Construction
309 Bourke Street 466 Unknown >10 Approved
35 Spring Street 270 CBUS 43 Construction
97 Franklin Street 367 Artemis Group 62 Planning
63 Exhibition Street 328 Asia One 67 Planning
36 La Trobe Street 224 Unknown 39 Registration & Sales
137 Bourke Street 104 VIMG 19 Registration & Sales
85 Spring Street 303 Grocon 46 Planning
54 A'Beckett Street 750 Aspial - WCL 81 Planning
224 La Trobe Street 1,206 UEM Sunrise 88 Planning
452 Elizabeth Street 622 Golden Age 75 Registration & Sales
9 Exploration Lane 89 Balfour 33 Approved
180 Russell Street 506 AXF Group 70 Planning
48 A'Beckett Street 235 Austwin 45 Approved
22 Bennetts Lane 25 Unknown 12 Approved
450 Elizabeth Street 607 Hengyi 69 Registration & Sales

There are 19 projects are listed above, six of which are at planning assessment. These six have a total unit count similar to that of the remaining 13 in the list. 3,490 apartments are at planning, with the largest project being UEM Sunrise's 224 La Trobe Street carrying 1,206 dwellings, followed by 54 A'Beckett Street with 750.

A total of 4,247 apartments are counted within the remaining 13 projects which have either been approved or are at registration and sales. 1,227 units are under construction. Those apartments under construction represent 16% of the total 7,737 apartments slated for East End according to the Urban Melbourne Project Database, hinting that East End is heading toward a development surge the likes of which have not been seen before within the precinct.

Other uses in high demand

82 Collins Street and the forthcoming Telstra building adjacent to their current Exhibition Street headquarters headline the large commercial projects slated for East End, adding in the vicinity of a combined 150,000sqm of premium office space. Commercial space aside, the surge of hotel suites is something to behold.

80 Collins Street, QT hotel and Hotel Forum

In part dragged along by a raft of mixed-use, high-rise proposals, the number of expected hotel suites for East End is robust, even with the scrapping of the Rosati hotel proposal mid 2014.

The current batch of intended hotel locations includes 150 Flinders Street, 97 Franklin Street, 180 Russell Street, 63 Exhibition Street, Windsor Hotel and 80 Collins Street's 19 level, 252-room hotel tower. Yielding roughly 1,200 hotel suites, these six projects may be joined by the nearly complete 146-room Brady Hotels tower at 22-32 Little La Trobe and the proposed yet troubled W Hotel development at 20-30 Bourke Street.

Future impositions?

It can be argued that as long as strong overseas sales underpin the local apartment market, then the current upward development trend will continue as developers seek new site acquisitions. A prime case in point sees the recent listing of 168 Exhibition Street by CBRE as offered for sale with a Peddle Thorp development scheme, including a 54 level mixed-use development. 168 Exhibition is symptomatic of the current East End dynamic where bigger is better, but what price for heritage considerations?

The question must be asked: will the influx of many thousands of new residents place too great a burden upon existing infrastructure? Certainly East End has inherent street level qualities and character devoid in areas such as Southbank, and finds itself closer to essential services, amenity and the general 'buzz' of Melbourne. Could existing transport infrastructure be the area most imposed upon by a surging East End population?

A clear positive of Melbourne's East End development surge would be the influx of people, particularly in the commercial dominated areas of Collins & Bourke Street. The resultant surge of residents would serve to activate many after-hour 'dead' spots and encourage new retail/entertainment opportunities to flourish where there were previously none; in effect bolstering and expanding City of Melbourne's 24 Hour City policy into the eastern reaches of the CBD.

If only a crystal ball were handy to assess whether eastern promises would translate into East End realities!

Lead image courtesy Ryan Seychell.


Alastair Taylor's picture

I propose everyone stop calling it the Paris end and start calling it "La Défence" end.

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Bilby's picture

I guess that would make old Fitzroy / East Melbourne the 'Paris End' as we move into the 21st century.éfense#mediaviewer/File:Paris_La_Défense_seen_from_Tour_Saint_Jacques_2013-08.JPG

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Chris Seals's picture

great link Bilby

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Chris Seals's picture

I also noticed what we call the Paris end, contains buildings like ANZAC house and a few other buildings associated the defense leagues

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