Central Equity breaks the mould: 71-87 City Road, Southbank

Having secured the last of four consecutive Southbank blocks during early 2015, Central Equity have enlisted Doig Architecture to design a residential tower that strays away from the developer's typical formula for success, at least externally.

For so long, content with churning out towers of approximately 40 levels and of a generic nature, Central Equity will for the first time surpass the 200 metre barrier with a 67 level residential tower proposed for 71-87 City Road, Southbank. Further the tower will employ an irregular and highly angular floorplate with a high degree of external facade definition.

The proposal will also retain in its entirety the heritage listed building at 71-75 City Road, rather than simply facade the structure.

In a sign that Central Equity are ramping up their residential pipeline, two further planning applications on the developers behalf are active. 268-274 City Road, Southbank and 556-558 Lonsdale Street were also lodged just prior to the implementation of the new Metropolitan Planning Levy, with both projects also in excess of 200 metres.

Combined the three projects will have a development vale in excess of $500 million and deliver well over 2,000 new dwellings.

Application summary

Hero perspective of 71-87 City Road. Image courtesy Doig Architecture
  • Application prepared June 2015
  • Four combined sites, with frontages to City Road and Fawkner Street
  • Combined site area: 2,340sqm
  • 71-75 City Road: three storey heritage building to be retained
  • Proposed 67 level residential tower at 224.6 metres
  • 782 apartments: 297 x 1BR, 368 x 2BR, 117 x 3BR
  • 406 car parks and 414 bicycle bays included
  • Three retail tenancies: 543sqm

Street level interface

The podium as viewed from City Road. Image courtesy Doig Architecture

71-75 City Road which sits to one corner of the development site and is a B-grade heritage listed structure will be retained, with a setback in place from the proposed podium and tower. The three level structure will also maintain its use as a tenancy of 211sqm post development.

The tower podium will consist of a ten level edifice to the City Road site boundary, clad predominantly in bronze glazing and highlighted by metal screens which carry graphic prints. Stone and glazing will be present along City Road with only the booster housing considered inactive, while composite screening will set behind 71-75 City Road, allowing creepers to take effect.

Atop the podium extensive landscaping and communal facilities are incorporated, with greenery also a feature of the podium fronting Fawkner Street by way of planter boxes.

The irregularly shaped tower will be dominated by light grey, dark grey and bronze glazing, with setbacks to all boundaries.

The next move

As is generally the case with large planning applications, DELWP have asked for further information from the development team on issues such wind impact, general tower presentation, development breakdown and 3D modelling.

An extension of time request was recently granted allowing for the preparation of further information, suggesting that in all likelihood 71-87 City Road Southbank will gain a planning resolution well into 2016.

Development team

  • Developer: WKB Land Corporation Pty Ltd (Central Equity)
  • Architect: Doig Architecture
  • Planning and Lansdcape: ERM Australia
  • Traffic: Cardno
  • Acoustic: SLR
  • Wind Environment: Windtech
  • Waste Management: Leigh Design
  • Heritage response: Heritage Alliance
  • Aviation Assessment: Rehbein Airport Consulting
  • Sustainability: F2 Design


Adrian's picture

I'm confused was the planning application submitted before the new planning controls came into place or after ?

If it was after surely this breaches all the new mandatory requirements for setbacks etc.

Either way at 224m looks like another OLS limit tower to get around the extra hassle of aviation clearances etc.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

This application was submitted in June before the new controls were introduced. It will be just below the OLS level.

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Adam Ford's picture

The tower is setback over 5 metres from all sides! It would be compliant with current setback rules.

Anyway, any developer deserves praise for considering heritage where they weren't required to in law. VERY well done, on all fronts, Central Equity.

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Adrian's picture

As has been pointed out CE have a good track record with retaining heritage facades.

That still doesn't excuse all their other crimes ie. pretty much every tower they've built to date not to mention destroying bluestone laneways for Australis. This is just a taller version of the crap, albeit a bit more interesting with the rounded treatment at the top.

Eddie Kutner's profit calculator has obviously worked out how to build more apartments for the same price and make him more money now that construction technology is 15 years improved.

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johnproctor's picture

Adam this wouldn't comply with new (interim) setback rules.

for towers over 100m the setbacks are 5% of the total tower height. so for a 200m tower the setbacks are 10m from all sides.

I expect that CE (and other developers who've been developing proposals since the start of the year) were given wind of the interim controls and told to at least pretend they were interested in issues like setbacks etc.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

The department and former planning minister were already getting tougher on applications for towers before the change of government.

There were a few developments that were approved by Justin Madden and Matthew Guy (early on) that were not consistent with the existing planning controls. If Vision had of gone to VCAT in 2009 It is very unlikely that it would have been approved.

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