Northern lights: the incredible rate of change in Melbourne's northern CBD

Cast your eyes over the northern reaches of Melbourne's CBD and a not-too-subtle marker is taking its place. Brady Group's Vision has motored past the 150 metre mark on its way to 226 metres and in doing so is acting as a vanguard project of sorts for the rash of new residential towers set to redefine this section of Melbourne.

With a host of new proposals joining the ranks of late, now presents as an opportune time to provide an overview of these residential towers that promise to remodel the northern areas of the CBD beyond recognition.

The current drop

A host of projects are early into their construction cycle

Clockwise above are Eporo, Light House, EQ Tower, Victoria One and Empire, the most advanced of which has risen two levels above ground. Joining these projects in the early stages of construction are Trillium and La Trobe Tower.

Near on 3,100 apartments are contained within the above seven projects, demonstrating the sheer pace at which this section of the CBD is evolving into a high-rise residential hub. With Vision, The Carlson and part of Fulton Lane also under construction, the number of apartments under construction is inflated by a further 1,460.​

It's a staggering number, yet such is the volume of upcoming projects north of La Trobe Street and south of Victoria Street that it can easily be surpassed by those projects in waiting.


A master sales agent has been assigned to 8 Bouverie Street, with its sales campaign imminent. Snapped up by Hengyi, the project is set to follow the current project Light House, albeit with a greater apartment yield exceeding 1,000 dwellings; the final numbers for the project will be revealed shortly.

Also pushing up the development chain are two separate projects for student accommodation provider Scape Student Living. 212-222 La Trobe Street and 393 Swanston Street between them are capable of providing in excess of 1,500 dwellings and have a completion date spread over 2018-2019. These are joined by the approved 377 La Trobe Street scheme which would essentially sit between the two nominated projects above, although its delivery timeframe is unknown.

Side by side and set for reshape the La Trobe Street landscape

Also maintaining a 2019 completion timeline is Aurora Melbourne Central which is due to begin site demolition at present while 97 Franklin Street remains the only major approved development in the CBD's northern precinct without publicly known development plans. The 200 metre plus golden tower is value at approximately $200 million and would carry 551 apartments and 144 serviced apartments.

Looming is Conservatory with in excess of 450 apartments; it will be UEM Sunrise's next Melbourne venture post the sales success of Aurora Melbourne Central.

The projects at planning are equally as imposing with four towers in excess of 200 metres on the radar. Headlining the show is Queens Place with 1,700 dwellings over two hulking towers, the tallest of which is 267 metres. Nearby 293 - 303 La Trobe Street Melbourne is shaping up for a slender residential tower with 370 dwellings over what is the Duke of Kent hotel.

Most recently submitted for assessment is 478 Elizabeth Street with a 68 storey mixed-use development envisaged. 399 apartments and 196 hotel suites would constitute the development's yield.

Image © Laurence Dragomir

Perhaps the most poignant indicator as the the rapid change and sheer volume of projects sweeping through the northern parts of the CBD is the render created by Laurence Dragomir above. Barely a year old the image depicts six of the tallest proposals with Aurora Melbourne Central being the only project not at construction.

If nothing else the dynamism of this pocket of the CBD provides impetus for an updated Urban Melbourne render.


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.