212-222 La Trobe Street: a story of chocolates and boiled lollies

One of Melbourne's longest running planning applications has found resolution after four years. Stymied by planning authorities owing to its poorly resolved design, 212-222 La Trobe Street's owners scored a win at VCAT during March, with the tribunal granting approval following the commission of Melbourne-based Jackson Clement Borrows to redesign the twin-towered scheme.

It seems now that four years of time and expense on the proponents behalf may result in a serious windfall as the freshly approved scheme has been listed for sale weeks after approval. Billed as one of Melbourne's premier development proposals, the timing of both approval and site sale could not be better, given the record prices currently being paid for CBD development sites by developers.

The failed proposal. Image © Simon Greenwood Architects

The initial scheme conceived by Simon Greenwood Architects and submitted during 2011 would have seen two towers containing 296 apartments, 100 car spaces, ground floor retail and in excess of 1,800sqm of commercial office space. At 142 metres in height the tower was considered excessive but in today's context that would not necessarily be the case.

The building would appear as an extremely prominent structure, being much taller than development around it. A particularly high quality design may potentially be warranted however this is not demonstrated in the current proposal.

Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee Report, 2013

City of Melbourne were less than enthusiastic about the proposal during 2012, citing concerns over height and lack of setbacks, overdevelopment, poor on-site amenity and lack of activation of the street. It was eventually rejected by the State Government in its then form.

212-222 La Trobe Street from the State Library. Image courtesy Savills

Fast forward and Savills are currently spruiking the site which has hit the market for the first time in over 30 years. 212-222 La Trobe Street and 17-25 Little La Trobe Street form part of the site's five street frontages, with total site area at 942sqm.

The revised scheme by Jackson Clement Borrows features 400 apartments within two towers of 39 and 54 storeys which can be delivered simultaneously or in a staged manner. All dwellings within the proposal will achieve a minimum net floor area of 50sqm (inclusive of balconies) according to the restrictions imposed upon the project.

Externally the two towers feature what looks to be fritted curtain wall glazing to all aspects, with a skybridge linking both.

New to the area. Images courtesy MGS & EF

Working on the likelihood that 212-222 La Trobe Street will find a buyer willing to proceed with the approved scheme, it will find itself with new neighbours in the immediate vicinity in the not too distant future.

Aurora Melbourne Central is due to have its site cleared next month in order for Probuild to commence construction works, while 377-391 Swanston Street looms as another large-scale residential development on the radar. Situated on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston, the MGS-designed 33 level tower would see hundreds of new student apartments delivered. Developer Far East has yet to proceed with the scheme which was approved during 2014.


tiankd74's picture

Sorry not quite understand, does it get the approval?

Back to top
Sar's picture

In 10 years time walking up Exhibition street will be near impossible, given the wind tunnel these tall buildings will create.

Back to top
Melbourne Muse's picture

Thanks goodness that initial cheap rubbish was knocked back!

Marvelous Mega-Melbourne

Back to top
My Real Estate Mate logo

Development & Planning

Project renders of the 555 Collins Street development
Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 12:00
With the bulk of Melbourne CBD's current high-rise boom centred largely along the northern reaches of Elizabeth Street, there's now a shift back towards Melbourne's traditional main street of Collins Street. This is evidenced by six significant projects at various stages of their life-cycles, which are set to transform the...

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 14:30
On Monday 24th of October, the iCities: World Class CBDs series conference kicks off. First held in Kuala Lumpur, this year's conference is to be held at the Langham Hotel on Southbank. iCities is owned and operated by iProperty Group, a network property under the REA Group umbrella brand. Over...


Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”. Perhaps the most striking example of this juxtaposition between old and new is the Coops Shot...

Transport & Design

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 07:00
108 Leicester Street is a collection of eight multi-level Fitzroy townhouses that have been designed to respond to the changing face of multi-residential living in Melbourne. The hybrid inner-city dwellings combine developer/builder FOURSQ with Melbourne firm BKK Architects. The design acknowledges the housing typologies of the development's Fitzroy neighbourhood with...

Sustainability & Environment

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 00:00
The proposed new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) on Sturt Street is shaping to become much more than a cutting edge venue. While the project has been given coverage to date across a range of mediums, very little has been said regarding the project playing an integral part in the...