Since being submitted nigh on one year ago, MAB Corporation's planning application for a prime piece of Fishermans Bend land has sat idle at the desks of State planning body DTPLI. As with all Fishermans Bend planning applications, no final decisions will be handed down until a point where a final Structure Plan for the urban renewal area is delivered by the State Government.
Not that MAB Corporation would necessarily be concerned by the delay as the Melbourne-based developer has held the land parcel in question for some years. Developing the low-rise Industry Business Hub at the western edge of 15-87 Gladstone Street prior to the announcement of rezoning, MAB Corporation subsequently enlisted prolific architecture form Hayball to take the lead in conceiving a staged, three tower residential scheme as seen below.
According to Hayball's urban context report, three distinct tower designs have been created:
While the three towers forms offer visually different outcomes, "The PODIUM edge offers the greatest opportunity to instill a sense of richness and diversity into people’s experience of the project. Care has been taken to deliver the maximum sculptural and activation potential at ground level."
Landscape design team Oculus have delivered a grand public/private interface at street level. "The selection of materials, the incorporation of trees and vegetation and the maintainability of the landscape all impact on the perception of a project and its wider site, helping to establish value, a local identity and to foster civic pride." The indicative renders (see link at bottom of page) show a malleable, green and interactive environment fronting public areas - just as anticipated in early visions for the precinct.
Via the landscape proposal, Oculus seek to:
"Both the sub-precinct ‘3 sites master plan’ and detailed design for the Gladstone St site have been developed with extensive consultation between the consultant team and DPCD (DTPLI), Places Victoria and City of Port Phillip." If this does not evoke a WTF moment regarding Fishermans Bend's progression I'm not sure what does!
After reading multiple other applications for Fishermans Bend it is somewhat bewildering that developers can prepare plans after consulting with relevant planning bodies only to have those plans shelved for an extended period of time. Perhaps a lesson for future Melbourne urban renewal projects - consult thoroughly, prepare a credible structure plan and only then allow the planning applications to flow.
Regardless an election year is afoot and there's no doubt an announcement regarding Fishermans Bend is imminent. Could there be a dual announcement finalising a Fishermans Bend Structure Plan while also heralding the approval of a select cluster of current planning applications (including 15-87 Gladstone Street) akin to 'Super Tuesday' earlier in 2014. If only I were a gambling man...