Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market

Malaysian-based Mitraland Group has flagged its intention to enter the Melbourne apartment sector with plans currently on display with City of Stonnington for a 20 level residential tower within South Yarra's Forrest Hill Precinct. Lodged with council during December 2014, the Fender Katsalidis-designed tower is nominated to have an end value of approximately $50 million.

Long earmarked unsuccessfully for development and surrounded by larger forthcoming towers such as 661 Chapel Street and LK Property's Capitol Grand, Mitraland are no doubt hoping the current planning application will find a favourable outcome in due course.

649 Chapel Street application summary

Artist's impression of 649 Chapel Street. Image courtesy FK Architects
  • Current use: two storey commercial/retail building over a roughly 500sqm site
  • Proposed: 20 level residential development at 61 metres in height
  • 72 apartments: all with two bedrooms
  • 71sqm retail outlet at ground level
  • 44 car parking and 21 bicycle spaces located within three basement levels
  • GFA: 8,794sqm
  • ​Communal rooftop space: dining/BBQ area and open-air roof garden

The site in question has been to VCAT in recent years, unsuccessfully, with the then proponent trying to gain approval for a 17 level residential building holding 82 apartments. Urbis state within the current planning application that any proposal put forward for the site:

Must demonstrate design excellence that will result in an outstanding building for the precinct. It is also imperative that any new proposal responds positively to the previous VCAT determinations

Urbis, 649 Chapel Street Planning Submission

Issues VCAT raised for the site during the previous proposal's hearing include that the northern facade be well articulated given the adjoining and substantially lower Quest apartment complex is unlikely to be redeveloped, and that there be a clear differentiation between podium and tower. The latter point was further articulated at the time where VCAT stated they don't necessarily consider a setback pivotal, rather that there be a visible difference in treatment between lower and upper levels.

Project architect Fender Katsalidis have employed metal fins over lower levels with a red ochre-like finish to provide contrast.

The previously unsuccessful proposal for 649 Chapel Street

Generally the exterior is dominated by precast walls to the north and south with an embossed pattern and applied colour designed to break its bulk. The northern facade has a considerable light court running the height of the tower included within the floorplan, accounting for roughly 42sqm of a typical floor's area.

Separated by the light court and the abutting lift, habitable areas within the proposal are essentially split into east and west wings. A generic plan covers levels 5-18, where each wing consists of two apartments with four per floor the norm. While all the apartments carry two bedrooms, the average internal area per apartment is approximately 75sqm with 66sqm and 83sqm the extremities.

Within its context, the proposed building contributes significantly through a well-designed and dynamic piece of architecture. Its form is sleek and slender, while being both sensitive and striking. A suited mix of glass and concrete fold into one another, and an otherwise continuous form is interjected by central voids and light courts that allow light to filter through the centre of the building.

The slender vertical tower element provides a distinct separation between podium and tower forms through varied materials and visible recesses.

Urbis, 649 Chapel Street Planning Submission
16 Quartz development as per the Mitraland website

Incorporated during February 2014, Mitraland Australia is the Australian affiliate of Petaling Jaya-based Mitraland Group. Formed during 1998, Mitraland Group has completed a host of medium and high-density residential projects predominantly in and around Kuala Lumpur.

Mitraland Australia is the latest Malaysian developer to enter the local market, following in the footsteps of well established players such as SP Setia and Mammoth Empire. Another Malaysian developer soon to make an impression upon Melbourne is PJ Development Holdings which holds a 20,000sqm land parcel at 93-119 Kavanagh Street, Southbank. Speculation is that a tower of up to 300 metres is in the offing for the site, in a development value at approximately $1 billion.

649 Chapel Street development team

  • Urban Context Report: Fender Katsalidis Architects
  • Architectural plans: Fender Katsalidis Architects
  • Planning: Urbis
  • Sustainable Management Plan: Ark Resources
  • Traffic Engineering: Cardno
  • ​Waste Management Plan: Leigh Design


Aussie Steve's picture

The key to getting this project right are the setbacks of the building along Chapel Street to meet the other setbacks already in place further north and the articulation of the northern facade. If they are both done well and executed to a high standard, this should be a great filler for Chapel Street (North), South Yarra

Back to top
squat-thrust's picture

'Must demonstrate design excellence that will result in an outstanding building for the precinct'.

I'm not seeing design excellence. Unsure how this will get approved considering the last proposal looks equally uninspired. At least they have balconies.

Bless this mess

Back to top
Crz's picture

IS it me or the things put out by FK gets Ugaly by the day ? Argh

Back to top

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.