News on three further skyscrapers rounds out an eventful week

It has been more than a lively week in terms of development as news continues to filter through on a swag of large inner city projects.

Earlier in the week The State Government announced in excess of $2 billion in planning applications had been approved. 460 Collins, 447 Collins, 280 Queen Street, 334-344 City Road and 4 Hopkins Street were all given the green light, amounting to in excess of 2000 apartments, 300 plus serviced apartments, hotel and office accommodation.

Further to the above, three separate projects have also had further information come to light this week:

303 La Trobe Street

303 La Trobe Street. Image:

Earlier this week Urban Melbourne mused that the initial proposal for the former Duke of Kent was dead and buried. Indeed the proposed 66 level, 213 metre tower is no more, but in its place has arrived another design at roughly 60 levels.

And further, the project has gone to early sales, featuring on Chinese-based property websites. Singaporean firm Figtree Asia was behind the initial development application and barring any off-market transactions still shapes as the driving force behind the project. The 503sqm site was secured by Figtree during 2014 for $14.08 million.

At 60 levels and near on 200 metres the project simply dubbed 303 La Trobe looks likely to become the tallest of all recent towers fronting La Trobe Street between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street.

Intended ground level and marketing material. Image:

640 Bourke Street

First outlined on Urban Melbourne during March 2015 as part of Besgate Group's push into Melbourne, 640 Bourke Street has met with opposition from City of Melbourne planners.

Valued at $234 million and proposed at a height of 273.3 metres to Bourke Street, the RotheLowman creation would also maintain a 173.4 metre height to Little Bourke Street. Overall 640 Bourke Street would, if approved, consist of 980 dwellings, 1,101sqm of leasable commercial space, 330sqm of retail space, a 942sqm child care centre and art gallery.

According to City of Melbourne planners, "the Council objects to the proposed development as it is an overdevelopment of the site by way of inadequate setbacks and inappropriate height to Little Bourke Street, plot ratio and the extent of demolition of heritage fabric."

640 Bourke Street. Image: ROTHELOWMAN

Height, setbacks, massing, plot ratio, heritage and the amenity of apartments are cited as key points within the planning report, with a Bourke Street plot ratio of 35:1.

Two versions of the tower were proposed, one which adheres to the Obstacle Limitation Surface height of 215.147 metres and the taller version outlined above. City of Melbourne planners state within the report that the tower should be height limited to the 215 metre outcome.

38 Freshwater Place

38 Freashwater Place as approved. Image: CBRE City Sales

The Metier 3-designed 38 Freshwater Place has gone back to planning, seeking amendments to what is one of Melbourne largest approved skyscrapers.

At 273 metres the project was put to market by M&L Hospitality Group and consequently found a new buyer earlier in 2016. Set over a 3,096sqm site the mixed-use tower which has approval for both apartments and a hotel, netted M&L Hospitality Group a reported $60 million upon its sale.

While the new owners have yet to be revealed, the movement of the project back to planning indicates that 38 Freshwater Place will be rejigged in its layout, and also hints toward the project becoming a reality in the medium term.


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.