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Flemington Road's apartment surge gains momentum

Flemington Road has provided an interesting and nonuniform entry point for many a visitor to Melbourne for many a decade. A mixture of low and high-rise buildings spanning many eras and many uses are present on the strip which was once the premier entry point to Melbourne from Adelaide and in more recent times to Melbourne's CBD from Tullamarine Airport.

As with many other parts of Melbourne, Flemington Road and the immediate back blocks are being driven to change by developers seeking prime sites within close proximity to the CBD. Where retail space, offices, medical centres, warehousing and light industry defined Flemington Road and surrounds for generations, the southern side of Flemington Road is now almost exclusively being developed as high-rise apartment blocks.

The current Flemington Road crop

Calling Flemington Road home

Three apartment developments have recently sold well and have found themselves at similar stages of construction. Helio and Nord are a matter of doors apart and are at both at the bulk excavation and wall retention stage.

United Asia Group's North apartment complex was first revealed on Urban Melbourne during September last year. The largest of all Flemington Road apartment developments, the tower opposite the new Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre will soon appear above ground and will eventually hold 454 apartments.

Although not on the strip, a gaze east along Flemington Road will soon enough include one of the more conspicuous apartment developments in the area. The distinctive green facade of Royal Elizabeth is the work of Elenberg Fraser and PDG Corporation. With the majority of its apartments accounted for the undulating building will soon start construction, providing a highly visible built form bookend to Flemington Road.

A new entrant

The most recent project seeking approval is 67-73 Flemington Road which is currently under assessment with City of Melbourne. Sharing the intersection with Villers Street, the project would replace an exsting low-rise commercial building with a part 15/16 level apartment complex.

Interestingly enough David Watson Architects list the project with a completion date of 2016 on their website - best hustle along.

67-73 Flemington Road. Image © David Watson Architects
  • Proponent: Obiter Investments Pty Ltd.
  • Architect: David Watson Architects.
  • Nominal project cost: $40 million.
  • 15/16 levels at 50.29 metres over a 1,042sqm site.
  • 165 apartments - 82 x 1BR, 80 x 2BR, and 3 x 3BR.
  • 115 car parking spaces and 100 bicycle spaces over four basement/lower ground levels.
  • 280sqm retail space at ground floor level.
  • Landscaped communal roof top terrace.

The sum of all parts

In recent years notable projects such George and Villiers Apartments led the push to a higher-density Flemington Road, between them adding 334 apartments to the area, some of which are student dwellings. The under construction Helio, Nord and North are in the process of adding 710 additional apartments directly to Flemington Road with 67-73 Flemington Road waiting in the wings.

Push back a block or two from Flemington Road and North Melbourne is gripped by multiple apartment projects from planning through to construction such as 20-24 Vale Street, 68-74 Courtney Street, 101 Canning Street and Moments. The next major project looks to be Mammoth Empire's Wreckyn Street in North Melbourne which word has it will accommodate in excess of 120 apartments.

Comment

Gone with the... excavator

The image above taken earlier in 2014 symbolises the change sweeping Flemington Road. Quaint dwellings are under increasing pressure to meet their end as prime sites at both the eastern and western end of Flemington Road are eyed for residential redevelopment. The above cottage has since made way for Helio Apartments and bit by bit the loss of a certain amount of character in the area advances.

Which is not to say development is necessarily a bad outcome. Prime real estate so close to the CBD and opposite multiple medical and educational institutions was bound to become a high-density enclave at some point. The demolition of low-rise commercial buildings for apartments near the Haymarket roundabout was a lay down misère but will friction arise when more of the above dwellings are called on to make way for apartment projects.

Howls of discontent haven't exactly emanated from the area, even from local residents group 3051 Integrated.

1 comment

Bilby's picture

I've never understood why people are in general more concerned over the demolition of heritage residential buildings than industrial or commercial buildings, but I can understand why many would place a lower priority on protecting urban heritage along main roads. It may be inconsistent, but I think many people find the main road setting detracts from being able to appreciate historic streets capes (and is likewise, less popular for residential living). Consider Alexandra Pde for a moment - it's a very intact heritage street, but as you say, Mark, would there be 'howls' of protest if it was proposed for redevelopment? Perhaps because of overshadowing, but otherwise I think people might appreciate the sound-proofing provided by a high street wall at the edge of the low-rise Fitzroy / Clifton Hill neighbourhoods. That's now my view, but a reasonable speculation, I suspect.

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