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Planning Application > 446-450 Nepean Highway, Frankston

Today's article is a follow-up piece to a news item from earlier this week titled 'Is it Frankston's time to shine?' in which Urban Melbourne highlighted the growing number of medium and high-rise developments jockeying for position within the bayside suburb.

In focus today is 446-450 Nepean Highway, an 11 storey mixed-use development which is currently toward the tail end of the approval process as Frankston City Council has indicated that the development will receive the green light.  Located directly opposite the revamped Peninsula Centre, 446-450 Nepean Highway is expected to form part of a wall of mid and high-rise buildings on the western flank of Nepean Highway. 

Responsible for this scheme, Doig Architecture are also in the process of devising a residential building of some 300 apartments on the neighbouring 444 Nepean Highway site.  Whilst these are separate developments, both will abut one another and appear as five separate buildings over a 200 plus metre stretch.  Capable of being constructed in stages to meet market demand, both developments are designed to be visually discernable in their components, acting as a 'city wall' according to Doig.

At 44.1 metres tall, 446-450 Nepean Highway would carry approximately 10,500 m² of office accommodation over upper floors.  A mezzanine ground floor and two podium levels will host a select number of apartments facing Kananook Creek and the Bay beyond while a total of approximately 600 m² of lettable retail space will activate both Nepean Highway and Kananook Creek Boulevard.

It's also expected that near 200 m² of additional space will front a new pedestrian laneway, linking the main north-south aligned thoroughfares that flank the site.  Servicing the tower will be 367 car parking positions accompanied 48 bicycle bays and 31 motorbike bays, distributed over five levels, both above and below ground with entry via Kananook Creek Boulevard.

The materials schedule is best described as monumental with no less than 18 separate forms of metal, timber, glass and concrete employed to create 446-450 Nepean Highway's exterior.  Prominent will be blue and grey glass over the tower's Nepean Highway frontage, punctuated silver glass in a seemingly haphazard fashion. Clear glaze will define the streetscape while perforated patterned mesh screens will cloak above ground car park levels and feature beach and nature motifs.

Doig Architecture's website carries the following summary of 446-450 Nepean Highway. "This 6,500sqm parcel of land between Nepean Highway and the Kananook Creek corridor offers a unique opportunity for the creation of a new High Street and public realm for the City of Frankston. With the opening of the Frankston Bypass, Nepean Highway is to be downgraded and two lanes of traffic removed. This section of the street could and should be developed with greater height and a more urban form, generous footpaths and planting of canopy trees and include uses such as Office, Residential and service retail, and potentially Student Accommodation and Education."

Although Council resolved to grant a planning permit during July 2013, the planning application was taken to VCAT as a number of objectors raised issues such as non-compliance to state and local planning policy, loading and road access provisions, design response and overdevelopment.  Subsequently a VCAT mediation session yielded an in-principal agreement  whereby increased privacy measures such as aluminium aerofoils (as seen above) will be incorporated into the design.

As of December 2013 446-450 Nepean Highway has found provisional approval from both Frankston City Council and VCAT, paving the way for final approval during the new year.

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