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488 Elizabeth Street turns to student accommodation

As expected GreenFort Capital is in the process of creating one of Melbourne's largest student accommodation projects at 478-488 Elizabeth Street.

It was revealed during September that the alternative real estate investment outfit secured the site at the top end of Elizabeth Street for $35 million. GreenFort Capital is headed by Adam Vaggelas who was previously with Blue Sky, with that operator rolling out three separate projects in Melbourne under the Atira Sudent Accommodation banner.

GreenFort Capital's Elizabeth Street project is their first in Melbourne, and has the financial backing of Goldman Sachs.

New plans for the 1,172sqm site at 478-488 Elizabeth Street sees a new 52 level tower on the cards, incorporating 864 student beds. This figure is broken down into ensuite studios (59%), twins (7%), ensuited 5 bedroom clusters (23%), ensuited 7 bedroom clusters (3%), 2 bedroom cluster with shared bathroom (5%) and DDA bedrooms (3%).

According to documents the development will include a minimum of 26 accessible rooms to cater for people with disabilities. 

Holding a build value close to $100 million, 478-488 Elizabeth Street also includes 180 bicycle bays, common areas and retail tenancies at street level. The tower's facade will be a mix of curtain wall glazing, precast concrete and screens, with all habitable areas having access to openable windows.

Slated for a 5 Star Green Star Rating, 478-488 Elizabeth Street's reworked purpose is based upon the following design principles:

  •  Co-located community meeting places & terraces
  • Public realm primacy and eligibility
  • Civic scale and detailed streetscapes and interfaces
  • Reinforcing the Local, Social, Natural and Built Context
  • Memory, material response and identity
  • Resilience and Sustainability
The original tower proposed onsite. Image: Elenberg Fraser

A 52 level student accommodation outcome is a far cry from the tower's original form. 68 levels onsite was expected at the project's first run at planning, resulting in a tower of 208.4 metres in height containing 383 apartments plus 198 hotel suites over lower levels.

Lodged during mid 2015 prior to amended planning rules being implemented, 478-488 Elizabeth Street slots in between two of Melbourne's tallest residential buildings, namely Vision Tower and Victoria One. Elenberg Fraser was the architect of choice prior to GreenFort Capital assuming control of the site.

Construction is likely to begin next year given construction tenders have come to a close for the development.

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