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The X factor - 308 Exhibition set to join the Carlton Gardens line up

The appeal of being located in close proximity to the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens continues to be a major selling point for developers, with a handful seeking to take advantage of the views afforded by the northern location.

Developer SP Setia has recently experienced this appeal first hand, with their Sapphire by the Gardens development passing the 80 per cent sold mark. The remaining 20 per cent of apartments will be marketed during two exclusive events in Sydney and Melbourne in coming weeks.

Sapphire By The Gardens apartment interior. Image: SP Setia

    A small number of the remaining apartments overlook the iconic, UNESCO world heritage listed, Royal Exhibition Building and its surrounding Carlton Gardens. These apartments will boast some of the most impressive views in Melbourne, as will the limited remaining apartments overlooking Melbourne’s CBD.

    Sapphire By The Gardens has been carefully designed to the highest architectural standards and we are excited to watch this development evolve and settle into this iconic location.

    - Mr Choong Ka Wai, CEO of SP Setia Melbourne

    The first tower, Sapphire By The Gardens will accommodate 345 residential apartments and residents will be able to access a range of amenities, including spa and sauna facilities, gymnasium and yoga area, infinity-edged pool and residents dining lounge just to name a few.

    A second tower connected to the first by a sky-bridge will deliver 500 suites as part of Melbourne’s first Shangri-La branded hotel that s is scheduled for completion - along with the rest of the development - during 2021. 

    Not too far away a number of other developments are at various stages of their respective development lifecycles, with UEM Sunrise's Conservatory the most advanced in terms of progress. Under the lead of head contractor Hickory, construction of the COX Architecture-designed 37-storey apartment tower is racing skyward at a feverish pace.

    Conservatory will at completion add 473 dwellings, designed around views towards the Carlton Gardens. The main entry lobby is flanked by a new north-south retail laneway with tenancies located within a series of pods designed to activate the streetscape.

    UEM Sunrise's Conservatory apartments are rising opposite the Carlton Gardens.

    The sculptural tower form has been configured to maximise the number of units that have the best views to Carlton Gardens, unencumbered views to the north, as well as view corridors through existing and approved developments to the south.

    The curved form of the building maximising the facade area to allow the greatest amount of glazed frontage, allowing optimal natural light penetration to more unit areas while the environmental fins modulate solar penetration. The top of the tower incorporates an environmental crown housing PV cells and water harvesting measures, creating a dynamic highlight to the form to transition from the mass and bulk of the adjacent tower down to the smaller scale of the tower to the east and the gardens below. 

    - COX Architecture

    Conservatory is expected to be completed late next year, while another project directly opposite was recently submitted for planning consideration. Should it be granted approval 23-29 Victoria Street will accommodate 90 apartments within a 25-storey building located on a 894sqm wedge-shaped site with two street frontages, currently occupied by a service station.

    Similar to Sapphire by the Gardens and Conservatory, the Woods Bagot designed scheme for Perri Projects has drawn on its location opposite Carlton Gardens, with apartments oriented to best maximise a northerly aspect.

    23-29 Victoria Street as rendered from Drummond Street. Planning image: Woods Bagot

    Lastly the long dormant former Cancer Council headquarters building at 1 Rathdowne Street on the corner with Victoria Street continues to languish with little movement on the key corner site.

    The 3,100sqm sold for in excess of $16 million during 2013 to Kingisland Timber Pty Ltd. The owner has yet to progress any plans for the site, despite having received approval in 2015 for the conversion of the existing building, which has been described by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle as one of Melbourne's worst eyesores, into a Indoor (trampoline) Recreation Centre. 

    1 Rathdowne Street has approval for a Indoor Trampoline Centre. Image: Latitude Developments

    One suspects it won't be long before the owners either on sell the site or draft up plans for a residential scheme for what is one of the most prominent sites in the northern CBD.

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