Shanygi Group's Wills Place headed for a sales launch

First there was the Sky Park Tower proposal with its five level park at the tower's summit. Then came a protracted Council and VCAT process which ultimately saw approval for a redesigned proposal. A few short months ago proponents Shanygi Group listed for sale 17-23 Wills Street as a prime development site with permit in place, and now after years of maneuvering Wills Place is finally slated to begin its apartment sales campaign next month.

Wills Place as it is will be known has had a very public profile since it's inception, with the peak of public interest and debate surrounding the proposal's desire to build to its northern boundary, effectively dimming the adjoining 'light shaft' of the Wills Court development. In order to negate the possibility of plunging the adjoining building's balconies into perpetual darkness, 17-23 Wills Street received setbacks and a colourful new facade to boot.

The proposal and its VCAT success were covered in depth on Urban Melbourne during November 2013.

Hero perspective of Wills Place. Image courtesy KUD

Subject to a variety of different configurations in the past including a hotel component, Wills Place will now deliver 200 apartments above the retained Art Deco podium. Gone is the Sky Park in favour of a more traditional tower format, albeit with a vibrant exterior which will set the tower apart from its immediate neighbours.

The latest of a string of apartment tower developments in the north-west corner of Melbourne's CBD, Wills Place follows the recently completed Istana and Grand 8 apartment projects. 386-412 William Street and the adjoining Victoria Market dual residential tower scheme look set to be the next residential projects of note in the popular pocket.

Kavellaris Urban design on Wills Place

The Wills tower is a departure from the typical extruded plan typology. Our objective for this project was to design an alternative vertical building form from a series of stacked floor plates expressed as individual volumes, as opposed to one large extruded volume with a repetition of window and balcony expressions. The result is a highly articulated rectilinear building that is expressed and narrated horizontally. The penetrations and balconies are intergrated within each volume which creates the architectural syntax.

Kavellaris Urban Design
The retained Art Deco facade. Image courtesy KUD

A beautiful 1930’s Art Deco building covers the entire footprint of the small site which we retained and integrated as part of our design response. The tower building is inserted within the envelope of the Deco building and sits on a series of large columns that penetrate through and beyond the existing building thereby creating a complete separation between the old and new.

Kavellaris Urban Design

Shangyi Property increase their presence

Spectrum as rendered and under construction. Render courtesy KUD

One of the pioneering Chinese developers which entered the Australian market in 2008, Shangyi Group completed their first Melbourne project during 2011 - an eight level apartment block dubbed 'Sunshine' in North Melbourne. With a focus on residential projects the developer currently has Spectrum Apartments under construction in Box Hill.

While Spectrum and Wills Place carry the same architect and the same penchant for exterior colour, Shangyi Group are also behind a current townhouse project in Doncaster, and are due to follow with another project in Box Hill shortly. Located on Wellington Road and within an area experiencing intense urban regeneration, it's expected Shangyi Group's new project will be in the vicinity of six levels.


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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

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.