Collins Square approved one day, under construction the next

A recent Friday 13th article published by the Australian Financial Review carried news that Walker Corporation's 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive or Tower 5 had received approval from the Victorian State Government. Inauspicious dates aside and somewhat incredulously the Monday thereafter, deep foundation contractor Vibropile was on site, beginning construction on what is the sixth building within the Collins Square precinct.

This miraculously quick turnaround suggests that Walker Corporation's dialogue with government representatives had been positive prior to public approval, prompting the developer to ready the necessary contractors to begin works immediately upon approval. While piling has commenced, a head contractor has not been announced as yet.

Piling underway at 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive

Covered by Urban Melbourne when at planning, 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive features a swale taken from the tower's most prominent aspect facing Wurundjeri Way. Described as a 'signature' tower in a key location and visible to the masses of commuters entering Melbourne via the Westgate Freeway, 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive will stand at 111 metres upon completion and add 34,700sqm of premium office space to the Melbourne market.

2-12 Batmans Hill Drive joins fellow Collins Square tower 727 Collins Street at construction, with the latter destined to be one of Docklands tallest buildings at 145 metres upon completion. Together the two towers will add 90,000sqm of commercial space to the precinct.

Further both buildings when complete will see contiguous retail spaces joined to create a cavernous and highly activated retail precinct at ground level, including a new internal passage dubbed Walker Laneway.

727 Collins Street's progress as compared to a project render

Spotted in recent days atop Collins Square Tower 1 are the initial test facade panels which will eventually provide 727 Collins Street with its distinctive facade and 'crown'. Far from silver in appearance, the seemingly blue faceted panels will clad the top volume of the tower and are quite similar to the Sissons-designed Lantern Building seen above, which acts as the entry point to the Collins Square precinct.

Externally the building exhibits two distinctive forms with a rich façade expression resulting from the varied materials and finishes. The lower east elevation offers a particularly well resolved and carefully detailed façade proving a strong presence to Village Street.

To the upper levels the building provides an overhang to the north and west, providing an interesting architectural form.

727 Collins Street Planning report
Test facade panels atop Tower 1, Collins Square

While no tenants have been made public for 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive, a number of organisations are seeking new office digs with the Sate Government (25,000 sqm) and Herald Weekly Times (11,000-13,000sqm) headlining the list. It could be that Walker Corporation intend to press ahead with construction of 2-12 Batmans Hill Drive in the hope that they may steal a march on competing prospective office developments.

727 Collins Street on the other hand has both KPMG (27,000sqm) and Maddocks (6,000sqm) as signed tenants although the AFR article cited earlier suggests that the tower will not be ready until the early stages of 2017, a delay of some months.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.