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CBD | 441-451 Elizabeth Street | 49L | 157m | Residential

Mark Baljak's picture

Get the ball rolling

Partial demolition and buildings and works for the construction of a mixed use development comprising of residential apartments, retail tenancies and associated parking in a Heritage Overlay and a Special Building Overlay

High times on the cards for Royal Saxon

One of the Melbourne central business district’s earliest hotels, the Royal Saxon Hotel, will be absorbed into a 49-storey apartment tower as the rush for residential high-rise runs unchecked.

The two Malaysian-born, Melbourne-based property developers behind Goodyear Properties are looking to build a 445-apartment project at the western end of Elizabeth Street in central Melbourne.

The pair, Yew Kiong Ling and See Song Yew, lodged their planning application on the same day the Reserve Bank of Australia drew a line in the sand against an investor-led property market.

Of particular concern to the central bank is the potential for oversupply in the Melbourne market especially.

An estimated 10,950 apartments were completed in Melbourne in 2013-14. Some 10,100 will be ­finished this year and another 10,000 the year after.

The RBA is worried about the risk – “most pronounced in Melbourne” – that new projects with smaller-sized student apartments will be harder to sell in the secondary market.

The proposed Elizabeth Street tower comprises 173 one-bedroom, 260 two-bedroom, and 12 three-bedroom apartments.

Most of the one-bed units range in size between 50.5 square metres and 71 square metres. Only two are less than 50 square metres.

Along with a retail component on the lower levels, the project will ­generate $200 million or more of real estate.

It is the second tilt for the two developers after Planning Minister ­Matthew Guy knocked back a 50-storey proposal on the site late last year.

The minister’s refusal came amid criticism that too much of the 1858 bluestone hotel would be demolished as part of the original design, leaving just the front section.

Critics lambasted the “facadism” symptomatic of that design and others, as historic three-dimensional buildings are reduced to mere facades and an ersatz form of heritage.

The second time around, the ­Peddle Thorp design retains the original section the Royal Saxon Hotel, while a rear annexe is demolished. The historic Menzies International building nearby is now included.

The Goodyear proposal includes three properties, two on Elizabeth Street and a third on Franklin Street, the Menzies building.

The developers added the third property to their new proposal since acquiring it in late 2012, after they had lodged the first proposal.

The T-shaped site, running between Elizabeth and Franklin streets, covers 1539 square metres. The Goodyear project joins a growing cluster of high-rise towers, some ­proposed and some already under construction, at the top end of ­Elizabeth Street, near the Queen ­Victorian Market.

Among them is the 72-storey Vision Apartments, by local developer Brady Group. Jeff Xu’s Golden Age Group has a 75-storey building on the opposite side of Elizabeth Street to the Goodyear proposal.

Malaysian developers SP Setia and Mammoth are also building ­residential skyscrapers nearby.

The Goodyear application notes at least five towers of 55-levels or more are planned around the top end of Elizabeth Street.

The cluster of skyscrapers prompted a warning in March this year from Town Hall planners that the area could become an oppressive urban canyon.

The Goodyear proposal includes two smaller 13-level towers, with a central 49-level tower rising to 156.5 metres.

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Rohan Storey's picture

Nice to hear the whole front section of the Royal Saxon is being retained ! Got any plans or images on hand ?

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Mark Baljak's picture

As requested Rohan, fair to say the write-up on the design won't miss

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Rohan Storey's picture

Thanks Mark - Ive just seen the plans myself - not as interesting design as first tower, but much better for the Royal Saxon Hotel (keeps the whole 1850s part), not so good for the brick and bluestone thing on Franklin, keeping only three walls and building above not setback much. A very squeezy site - lower levels has arms in all directions, bedrooms into lightcourts, the west 'wing' looking straight at Fulton Lane - not shown in the render above ! (in fact none of teh new or permitted or under construction towers are!) But the top part is fine amenity-wise.

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