We deliver > Australia Post and 185 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne

185 Rosslyn Street West Melbourne is a prime 9,200sqm site which has been earmarked as a benchmark for development in the area, although which is currently offered for sale as a development site with the associated planning application attached. Currently before the State Government, the Australia Post-owned site has the potential to support a development which can revitalise the immediate precinct and provide key improvements to the public realm.

Designed by Rothelowman, the island site currently a two-three storey warehouse and at-grade car park, located within 400m of the CBD. With delivery expected over three stages, the development will ultimately comprise five buildings accommodating 501 residential units, 1,205sqm of retail space and 396 car parking spaces.

In addition to a northern public forecourt, north-south block access is included providing connectivity to a range of retail/commercial spaces within the site and beyond.​

185 Rossyln Street summary

185 Rosslyn Street streetscape. © Rothelowman
  • Current 9,200sqm site use: Australia Post call centre.
  • Planning application lodged July 2014.
  • Five buildings with the tallest at 18 levels.
  • 501 apartments: 246 1BR + 255 2BR.
  • Total GFA: 55,802sqm.
  • ​1,205sqm retail space over eight tenancies.
  • 396 car parking spaces and a bike workshop.
  • Site and associated planning application currently for sale.

Rothelowman statement

185 Rosslyn St is a community focused campus style residential development located within West Melbourne, at the edge of Melbourne’s CBD.

Our proposal for Rosslyn St consists of several buildings designed to open up a previously closed off inner urban block, and provides a variety of public spaces in additional to retail and commercial tenancies. The urban design strategy of our development has centred on the creation of a significant public piazza along Rosslyn Street which connects through to Dudley Street via a pedestrian link.

The apartment buildings follow a site-wide courtyard typology which allows for a large central space to be developed into communal facilities for the use of all residents. The taller built form has been transferred to the south west corner where it relates to the density of the Docklands and eGate precinct, with the building mass then gradually stepping down towards the heritage building to the south east corner of the site.

The various façade treatments seek to provide articulation and screening to the project, visibly, environmentally and acoustically.

A palette of high quality materials provides varied texture and subtle distinction in the expression of the main elevations and importantly focuses on controlling solar gain to aid in the sustainability of the development as a whole.


Design principles

Design principles diagram. Image © Rothelowman

Rothelowman have favoured a courtyard - an almost 'donut' shaped arrangement - in their planning for the buildings onsite, after investigating and dismissing a more linear arrangement. Not only does this increase the overall apartment yield, but also results in greater separation between building forms while, improved amenity and views to all apartments with less south facing apartments.

Additionally this allows for greater flexibility in staging, while reducing the amount of overlooking from building to building and to neighbouring properties.

Building massing and context

185 Rosslyn Street massing in context. © Rothe Lowman

Located within the evolving West Melbourne which is in part slated for urban renewal, 185 Rosslyn Street presents as a key nexus to E-Gate, Docklands, Melbourne's CBD and North Melbourne. The proposed development sits comfortably within its future context that is generally of a similar nature in height and scale, with the exception of 420 Spencer Street which at 131 metres will tower over all others in the area.

The taller massing is generally located to the south to allow for solar access to the common courtyard and a high degree of amenity to apartments. The 18-storey tower is located to the south-west to form the transition in height between West Melbourne and E-Gate.

Surrounding town planning approvals for residential development are highlighted above which includes 420 Spencer Street and the neighbouring 13 level Duo Apartments which is currently under construction.

Response highlights:

  • A courtyard typology achieves greatest distance between buildings whilst minimising overlooking. Minimum of 9m separation between all buildings.
  • Podium street wall heights of four storeys, providing articulated and activated frontages and a clearly defined streetscape.
  • Levels above podium have setback a minimum of 3m from boundary.
  • 4.5 metre setback from east to allow for future developments on adjacent site.
  • Breaks in building mass allow visual separation, staging and access. Tallest building orientation and shape takes into consideration the effects of wind.

185 Rosslyn street application team

  • Proponent: Australia Post
  • Architect: Rothelowman
  • Landscape architect: Aspect Studios
  • Planning Consultant: Urbis
  • Structural Consultant: 4D Workshop
  • Services Consultant: O'Neill Group
  • Traffic Consultant: GTA Consultants
  • Wind Consultant: Mel Consultants
  • Waste Consultant: Leigh Design
  • ESD Consultant: Ark Resources


Bilby's picture

This seems to be quite a thoughtful design that will contribute to the area. It would have been nice of they could have incorporated some of the existing red brick warehouse building, though - especially on the existing lane way, perhaps? Otherwise, a pretty effective use of the site.

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Aussie Steve's picture

Dare I be so bold as to suggest that there is great potential for sensitive low to mid rise development in North and West Melbourne. There are certainly areas with low rise residential that needs to be protected, but there are other pockets which could certainly accommodate higher density residential development.

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3000's picture

Good to see some actual effort going In to the area.

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Mark Baljak's picture

I too would have liked some of the warehouse retained, gives great character to the area.

Nonetheless a design with excellent potential

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Alastair Taylor's picture

I actually did some temp jobs in the AustPost back office (this site) after getting back from overseas in 2006.

If I remember correctly the use of the building before AustPost moved in and turned the interior uber-corp was that it was a workshop for MFB vehicles - or some other large vehicle workshop.

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johnproctor's picture

agree with comments above - this seems to be a very well put togethor plan that actually considers what is going on in surrounding areas.

the 1200m2 retail across 8 tenancies would be a welcome addition up this way too with the potential for some better cafes and service and convenience retail in the side streets away from the pretty low amenity offerings on Spencer and King Streets that exist at the moment.

no doubt whoever buys the site will tear it up and apply for a permit with 6 50 level towers and try to 'maximise the value' of the land. or some such nonsense.

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Riccardo's picture

Public transport?

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