When was the last time a sizable apartment project began construction, only to fall over and remain dormant? It certainly doesn't happen that often, particularly now given current market conditions and a buying/sales frenzy over any viable piece of land throughout inner Melbourne.
I'm sure there have been plenty before, but for the life of me I can't recall any bar one: 392 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North. Taken at the turn of 2012, the lead image shows a sorry state of affairs onsite for Tranquility Apartments as then head contractor Maxcon witnessed a build fizzle into the ether.
Then developer Brooklyn Projects suffered the ignominy of watching their headline development falter, leaving the site an overgrown mess for the best part of three years. Definitely not the norm for Melbourne.
But as is the case so often, the dormant site had passed hands quietly with revised plans put before Yarra City Council. Studio Antonio Calabro (SACBW) have assumed design duties on behalf of new owner Blue Earth Group and have proceeded with a revised design of 72 apartments over six levels.
Overlooking Merri Creek Reserve, the project looks to make use of existing building footings prepared for Tranquility. With one bedroom apartments beginning from 52sqm, the one and two bedroom complex will be known as Northwood.
In a quirk of sorts the site has gone from one developer - who clearly struggled to advance the build - to another who appears to have little trouble pushing out masses of apartments with minimal fuss. A case in point sees commencement of construction this month on Blue Earth Group's A Apartments project in East Brunswick without the project ever hitting the mainstream apartment sales channels; they have clearly mastered a winning formula.
Less empty sites doubling as blights on the urban landscape is a more than acceptable outcome, though this question must be asked: who is responsible for allowing a car park access ramp through the retained heritage facade?
A trivial issue in the grand scheme of things, but it does seem to defeat the purpose of retaining the facade to begin with. Certainly not the end of days, but it did bring forth an incredulous smile upon first viewing.