A breath of fresh Air for Pentridge in Coburg

The Planning Minister's office has granted approval for a major tower within the former Pentridge site that will add near on 200 apartments to the emerging precinct.

Dubbed Air Apartments, the tower at 21 Pentridge Boulevard carries the name of a formerly approved Rothelowman-designed residential tower for the same plot. In approving the current version, the State Government has worked within the expectations of the existing site masterplan, despite the tower sparking 'outrage' in the local community in recent times.

The current Air Apartments design created by Particular works roughly to the same dimensions of the now superseded scheme that held approval for some years prior to yesterday's announcement.

National Trust Victoria raised concerns over the size of the tower, although Heritage Victoria saw fit to give the nod to the tower during the approvals process.

Artist's impression of Air Apartments

Backed by developer Shayher Group, Air Apartments in somewhat of an oddity will also include car parking for residents of adjoining buildings. 57 car parks are allocated to residents of existing residences, namely the Quartermaster Building and the Industry Lane townhouses.

Whether this is an imposed requirement in order to gain the Air Apartments permit remains unclear, but it's certainly a departure from the norm and contrary to a statement provided by Shayher Group project spokesman Anthony Goh yesterday.

A site like Pentridge not only requires high density housing to ensure its economic viability in the long term, but it is also suitable for a higher density development due to its close proximity to public transport infrastructure, shops and schools, thereby reducing the number of cars on our roads and encouraging residents to walk to nearby facilities.

Parking anomalies aside, Anthony Goh believes Air Apartments will go along way to providing housing diversity within the precinct:

This building is a part of our vision to create a new urban village within the iconic walls of Pentridge, attracting locals who are keen to get on the property ladder and downsizers and those who wish to live in the centre of it all - with a Palace Cinema, cafes, restaurants and retail stores right on their doorstep.

The apartment mix responds to market trends for a diverse and integrated approach to housing types needed in the Coburg area. Its residents will be an important part of the site's future, energising this amazing location for many years to come.

Precinct massing as per the Pentridge Coburg Masterplan

Air Apartments joins 1 Champ Street and what is known as Building 9 as Shayher Group's most immediate projects within the larger Pentridge Coburg precinct.

1 Champ Street or Building 16 within the masterplan is expected to house 52 residential apartments and the balance of the 114 Adina Hotel suites slated within the build. Adina suites will also be located within with the historic and soon to be converted B Division building.

At 19 levels, the Cox Architecture-designed tower is expected to span 64 metres and include a range of amenities across lower levels.

Building 9, on the other hand, is a low-rise building arranged in an arcade-style format. It will include an array of retail outlets, restaurants, and a state-of-the-art Palace Cinemas complex.

The expected Palace Cinemas complex


Aussie Steve's picture

This is yet another nail in the coffin for this world heritage site. Further desecration of the heritage value of this wonderful complex of 19th century buildings by allowing other modern monsters to sit high above the perimeter walls and more unnecessary penetrations into the perimeter walls too!

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George D's picture

The Pentridge site is such a mess. It could have gone so well.

Some point in the future we'll knock down a lot of this and do it right the second time.

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3000's picture

Swing and a miss.

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Bilby's picture

Yes, one of the most significant and exemplary 19th century prison sites in the world, and this is how we've treated it. Literally unbelievable.

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