Some proceed, others falter as planning decisions are made

Following industry murmurings at the apparent slow progression of many big ticket planning applications in recent months, a flurry of decision making has ensued minus the highly public announcements associated with the previous government. While 380 Lonsdale Street and 85 Spring Street have found resolution of late, other projects are also heading toward or have met their fate.

Heading the list is 68-70 Dorcas Street, Southbank which has progressed to the point where DELWP has indicated a notice of decision during early April. Generally an affirmation of approval, 68-70 Dorcas Street would add to a Southbank precinct loosely bound by Dorcas and Coventry which is already heavy with existing and approved residential towers.

Designed by SJB, the 92 metre tower would hold 274 one, two and three bedroom apartments in addition to ground floor retail for 20Q Development.

68-70 Dorcas Street. Image courtesy SJB

Mirvac has reason to smile with their intended premium office tower at 477 Collins Street recently attaining a permit. After gaining unanimous support from City of Melbourne, the proposed was quietly approved at a State level in recent weeks.

The Grimshaw Architects-designed 165 metre tower will hold approximately 54,000sqm of leasable floor area with 2,461sqm of leasable retail space and end of trip facilities included to support a sizeable work populace. With increased confidence and activity in Melbourne's commercial sector, Mirvac look to have gained approval at the right time although other projects such as Brookfield's 405 Bourke Street are also on the hunt for large tenancy deals.

The approved 477 Collins Street. Image courtesy Grimshaw Architects

Elsewhere in the CBD The Forum redevelopment is now seemingly in limbo, with City of Melbourne's Councillor Rohan Leppert announcing via twitter on Friday that the previously approved tower is now no more. VCAT has found that former Planning Minister Matthew Guy acted beyond his scope of powers in approving the restoration and mixed-use tower development; that decision should have been solely with City of Melbourne.

It looks increasingly likely the 220-room, 107 metre hotel will be consigned to history, at least in its current guise.

The Forum tower. Image courtesy Bates Smart

Reports to the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee have also appeared within the last week surrounding two proposed CBD residential towers. 54-64 A'Beckett Street has been well documented on Urban Melbourne, with the most recent article surrounding its considerable loss of height and subsequent apartment yield.

Now at 167 metres in height as opposed to 253 metres, 54-64 A'Beckett Street - likely to be named Avant - has gained a recommendation that City of Melbourne (via Future Melbourne) should not oppose the redesigned tower. In the current planning climate this looks to be a considerable step forward for the project.

54-64 A'Beckett Street and 441-451 Elizabeth Street. Images courtesy EF & PT

Conversely​ 441-451 Elizabeth Street has not fared so well in its second visit to the planning approvals process. The redesigned tower on behalf of Goodyear Properties is in stark contrast to the initial Peddle Thorp-designed application which carried many similarities to Dubai's O-14 Tower.

Although greener and leaner, the revised scheme has still fallen short of planning expectations with its associated Future Melbourne report urging Melbourne City Council to object to the application. Read our detailed application summary on 441-451 Elizabeth Street.

Beyond the realms of the CBD a tri-towered St Kilda Road project recently scored a win via VCAT. First revealed on Urban Melbourne, 601 St Kilda Road consists of dual 20 level towers fronting Melbourne's premier boulevard, with a smaller nine level building nested in behind. Combined the project holds in excess of 470 apartments for developer Summerhill Property.

Lodged with Port Phillip during September 2013, VCAT gave the project the nod during March.

601 St Kilda Road. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser
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