Hot or what? The Collingwood apartment juggernaut rolls on

Earlier during 2014 Urban Melbourne highlighted the strengthening momentum Smith Street Collingwood was gathering as one of Melbourne's must-live destinations. With the apartment development landscape in the area changing rapidly, it pays to once more visit the current state of play in terms of Smith Street and Collingwood as a whole.

While many have now progressed to construction, a second wave of apartment projects are emerging as a multitude of developers look take advantage of continuing buyer interest in the suburb.

At construction

All Collingwood projects currently under construction

Eight major apartment projects are currently at various stages of construction, yielding in the vicinity of 980 apartments. With completion for the majority expected mid to late 2015, Collingwood will see an appreciable swell in residents at these projects progressively achieve completion.

Seen above in clockwise fashion are You and I, Oxley Apartments, 41 Peel Street, Yorkshire Brewery, Little Ox, Tapestry Apartments and Oxford & Peel. Last but not least is Smith&Co. which under developer Banco Group announced on Urban Melbourne yesterday the final release of extra spacious apartments over the top levels of the development.

Registration and sales

Ever closer to construction; projects at registration and sales

In between the construction boom and surge of new projects in their infancy a handful of developments are seeking to make the transition from sales to reality. Shown as accepting registrations of interest on developer Preview Property's website, Islington Apartments joins Angelo Property Group's Haus Apartments as the two projects most likely to progress to construction next, with the latter having already completed site demolition.

Factoring in 9 Smith Street and The Patersons which also at sales and front Smith Street yet are considered to be in Fitzroy, the four projects may well add in excess of 250 apartments to the area.

The new wave

The next wave lining up Collingwood

Here are the seven latest Collingwood projects in waiting, with only 195 Wellington Street holding approval. Clockwise once more 386 Smith Street, 109 Wellington Street, 7 and 9-15 Little Oxford Street, 466-482 Smith Street and 24-28 Stanley Street find themselves at planning while Koúl Property enters the suburb with their proposed predominantly brick building at 203-205 Johnston Street which has yet to hit the official planning channels.

These projects combined are slated to hold in excess of 250 apartments; while the number of apartment developments continues to flow, the smaller site size dictates that fewer apartments will be contained within each development on average.

Not yet submitted for approval are two additional projects which will add approximately 200 additional apartments. Angelo Property Group is set to go again with 365 Smith Street which in time will host in excess of 100 one and two bedroom apartments and retail tenancies fronting Smith Street. Gurner also plans a return with 107 Cambridge Street (following 24-28 Stanley Street) which is expected to carry 92 apartments in an Elenberg Fraser-designed complex highlighted by an almost lace-like facade.

All in all the mass of residential developments within Collingwood ensures Urban Melbourne will be writing about the area for some time to come.


Vinny's picture

Ahh, gentrification. It’s good when it improves diversity but this current wave is homogenising Collingwood, turning it just like everywhere else. I moved to Collingwood before it was cool. It was edgy, gritty and interesting. The edge has gone, the grit has been replaced with shiny new apartment buildings which could belong anywhere and as the demographic changes, it’s not as interesting. Chain stores in, creative types out.
Places evolve but with smart planning the place could retain its identity and character. It’s not just Collingwood’s loss, it’s Melbourne's loss.
The proposal at 109 Wellington Street is about to be destroy an old shop. It’s over 150 years old. Who benefits from this destruction?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Such is life.

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Peter Maltezos's picture


The stretch of Johnston Street between Hoddle and Smith Streets is third world.

For about 12 years I used to walk the length of Johnston Street on my way to work trying to avoid desperate junkies either lying on the sidewalk or begging for money. Boarded up shops, used syringes in the gutters and the stench of urine and vomit was everywhere.

Is this the sort of thing you will miss VINNY?

​......I do like most parts of Collingwood though and these developments will change the demographic somewhat, likely for the better.

I collect, therefore I am.

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Bilby's picture

Such is bad urban planning in Melbourne.

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Bilby's picture

By the way, this post missed one of the bigger ones at 239-249 Johnston St. Fitzroy, which just happens to be up at IDAC tonight at Yarra City Council (11 stories and 160 apartments):

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3000's picture

"before it was cool"
That's what any resident of Collingwood would say

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Vinny's picture

Maybe I should have clarified; before the media labelled it as Australia’s coolest suburb. That ruined it right there.
When was the last time you walked down Johnston St, Peter? Sounds like the heroin days of the 1990s. It’s hardly skid row. There's some great historic architecture over that stretch and plenty of vintage industrial furniture places. The café’s along there are like the ones found on Smith St before the ‘apartment juggernaut’ came to town due to cheap rents.
It’s the proposed apartments I’m especially concerned about and the one Bilby mentioned is an absolute disgrace. Far too tall, an unsympathetic design and involves demolishing the Lyric Theatre.
As far as the demographic changes, Melbourne’s uniqueness and urban character would be poorer if Collingwood and Fitzroy turn into a ‘North Yarra’. Travel to Chapel Street if you want that experience.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

239-249 Johnston St. Fitzroy has been recommended for approval. Council's heritage advisor agrees with the applicants consultant that the Lyric theatre is unfortunately too far gone to require it to be retained.

The 11 level proposal at 243-247 Queens Parade has also been recommended for approval.

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Bilby's picture

Recommended by the council planning officers, you mean? My sources tell me that council knocked it back at IDAC last night - so, no, not approved by any stretch of th imagination. This one will no doubt be headed for VCAT. And frankly, I'm not sure how the heritage advisor could have reached their conclusion without a full assessment of the buildin's facade - only a tiny percentage of the cladding has been removed, so it's impossible to say what remains of the old Star Lyric facade under there. The original window openings and tuck pointed brick is clearly intact, from what can be seen from a roadside inspection, however, so no doubt there is a lot more of the original building under there. The interior, including the original ceiling and sliding roof are intact, too, as is the original hard plaster cinema screen and side walls with portal windows. This building clearly could be restored - and what's more, we have a perfectly intact facade in a very similar style in the Brunswick Lyric Theatre on Sydney Rd, as well as original photos to use in a restoration.

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Bilby's picture

Here's a link to a website about this historic early 20th century Fitzroy cinema:

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Bilby's picture

By the way, Nicholas, what is the source of your information about council's heritage advisor's opinion that the Star Lyric is "... to far gone for it to be retained"? How does that sentiment square with this direct quote from the council's heritage advisor about this development:
"The Raworth report states that “the street façade of the former theatre has been substantially modified” (p. 4) and lists several missing elements before concluding “that the building retains little capacity to aesthetically contribute to the heritage values of the Johnston Street streetscape. Its significance has been diminished by its highly modified condition” (p.16). While some of these statements appear to be conjectural as there is limited visibility of the façade through the recent openings made in the metal cladding, it is evident that changes have occurred but whether or not to the extent that the façade has “been changed beyond recognition of its original or subsequent contributory characters” is not at all clear ... Recommendation / Comments:

Not approved.

Demolition is not supported at this time.

It is recommended that more, probably all, of the metal cladding be removed from the Lyric Theatre building and a section from the MacRobertson building and sections of tiles from both buildings so as to facilitate a further and reasonable assessment which is sufficient to gauge the extent of damage and/or intactness and restoration potential."

How do you explain your comments in the light of this information?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

I did say recommended for approval, not approved.

These quotes from the agenda (

As a former theatre, the façade and interior were the most important elements and given that both have been considerably compromised, on balance, demolition of this building could be contemplated. Its loss will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the precinct.

Demolition is acceptable but prior to any demolition, an archival photographic survey is to be made of it, including the façade after the removal of the metal cladding and the interior, in accord with Heritage Victoria’s Guidelines and that the internal decoration is also recorded digitally in colour. The archival record to be to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority as a permit condition. After approval, the archive is to be lodged in the local history collection at the Fitzroy Library.

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Bilby's picture

The assessment given above is contradictory, however. If there is enough façade behind the cladding worthy to be recorded, then there is enough of a 'contributory' heritage building left to warrant retention according to the guidelines for demolition of contributory buildings in the Planning Scheme. The argument that it will not "adversely affect the heritage significance of the precinct" will thus not wash at VCAT. Clearly, a historic cinema was an important aspect of the entertainment of the workers in the Macrobertson's "White City" historic precinct - it is ridiculous to say that its demolition would not affect the appreciation of the significance of the precinct taken as a whole. Of course it will! And since the building is also heritage listed as a "contributory" place, the guidelines say it should be retained. If VCAT is indeed to be the impartial umpire in this case, they should not rely on contradictory statements from council's heritage advisor, in my view.

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