190 metre tower sought for South Yarra

Mid last year Nicholas Harrison wrote a piece titled "Sixth time lucky at the Fun Factory" which highlighted the many attempts to realise a large-scale tower on what is South Yarra's premier development site. Spanning as far back as 1989, developers have sought to make good a string of predominantly residential schemes designed for the site, but to no avail.

The most recent attempt found itself at VCAT during 2013, and ultimately gained approval at 134 metres in height. Beyond that point 241-257 Toorak Road & 625 Chapel Street (as it's officially referred to) has since fallen under the control of rapidly expanding Melbourne-based developer LK Property Group.

Render of The Capitol South Yarra. Images © Bates Smart.

In keeping with the site's history and current development trends, a new planning application has been submitted seeking to increase the height and apartment yield for the project. Still under the moniker of The Capitol which surfaced during the failed sales campaign commenced during 2011, the new scheme before City of Stonnington seeks a 190 metre residential tower holding 660 apartments in a higher density format.

Project architect Bates Smart has essentially refined their previously endorsed design, creating a slimmer, taller tower while also reconfiguring the ground floor plane to allow greater circulation. The ground floor figure eight layout will heed 4,530sqm or retail space, adding to the already heavy retail offerings nearby.

While it may tower above all others in South Yarra, the below render shows that The Capitol wouldn't be completely out of place in what is a constantly evolving skyline. Given that the previous 41 storey development of 483 dwellings fell foul of City of Stonnington, it seems likely that VCAT or Ministerial intervention may well determine the fate of the current 190 metre proposal.

The Capitol above an otherwise expanding South Yarra skyline. Image courtesy Bates Smart.

Urban Melbourne has now dissected The Capitol's planning application at length, highlighting the magnitude of the proposed development that may well permanently reshape South Yarra.


Melbman's picture

Looks great but unfortunately I can't see this happening.

A Labor govt will likely find it hard to approve this if it went to ministerial intervention, based on their never ending negativity about towers in general over the past 4 years.

Even getting this past VCAT at that height would be a challenge.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

This will be a very important test case at VCAT (if the minister does not approve it before it gets that far).

VCAT refused the previous application for a 160m high tower based on it being too high considering the planning controls at the time. The applicant is now arguing that Plan Melbourne clearly encourages development in activity centres like South Yarra to be of an even higher density than encouraged under Melbourne 2030.

If VCAT agrees then we could see many more applications for much larger towers in the Metropolitan Activity centres included in Plan Melbourne:

- Sunshine
- Footscray
- South Yarra
- Broadmeadows
- Epping
- Toolern
- Dandenong
- Box Hill
- Ringwood
- Frankston
- Fountain Gate
- Lockerbie

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Aussie Steve's picture

Yes it is a great design, but it is too tall for that location. What is currently approved is a bit too tall, but we have to work with what we have, but this is too much for this area. Overshadowing will be too great for that area. The public realm at ground level is vital and overshadowing can make an area very dark and cold. We need to maintain sunlight on the south side of Toorak Road to match the policy within the Forrest Hill precinct.

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Mark Baljak's picture

what's your preferred height Steve?

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Aussie Steve's picture

I am not too sure Mark, but I would not want to see the south side of Toorak Road overshadowed on those critical planning scheme dates in June.

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