Height, overshadowing and heritage; the Holy Trinity of inner-city development concerns that's sure to garner mainstream media attention. This was indeed the case during 2014 when plans were revealed for the redevelopment of the Fletcher Jones site at 1-5 Queen Street which sits directly opposite the Banana Alley vaults.
Malaysian-backed Creative Wealth (Aust) Pty Ltd commissioned the project with CBD-based K2LD Architects conceiving the residential tower which at 25 levels and 90.75 metres would have made an instant impression upon its more modest in height neighbours.
According to a Business Day the 746sqm site was owned and occupied by retailer Fletcher Jones since 1955, until falling into private ownership post 1993. With the onsite Cobden Buildings structure originally dated 1872, groups such as Melbourne Heritage Action considered the redevelopment as little more than facadism with the Flinders Street edifice the most notable feature retained within the proposed redevelopment.
Enter 2015 and City of Melbourne have elected to reject the proposal in its current form. Almost six months to the day after the initial planning application was lodged, the decision to rebuke 1-5 Queen Street was made public on January 13. According to Melbourne Heritage Action, City of Melbourne's refusal was based upon a number of factors with the tower's adverse affect upon the heritage listed existing building and its Queen Street neighbours at the forefront.
Seen above was the intended Queen Street facade which was to have replaced the 1970's augmented frontage, which up until that point matched the Flinders Street frontage. A modern interpretation of what once was there, the facade would have employed stone and metal.
As with most developers Creative Wealth (Aust) Pty Ltd would now seemingly have two options at hand. A trip to VCAT may be on the cards as could be a new planning application that better addresses the concerns outlined by City of Melbourne.