The first steps have been taken in order to facilitate one of Melbourne's largest apartment developments. Guangzhou-based real estate giant R&F Properties has initiated a permit application for the redevelopment of the Kinnears Footscray site (via their Australian subsidiary R & F Estate Pty Ltd), with the intent of delivering multiple apartment towers.
Lodged during September, 124-188 Ballarat Road Footscray seeks both limited demolition and adaptation of existing heritage buildings spread over the site, with the earliest structures identified as dating back to 1909.
R&F Properties purchased Kinnears Footscray last year for $60 million after fellow developer AXF Group chose to move the asset on. This follows a 2012 Maribyrnong City Council and Ministerial planning scheme amendment for the site, which essentially paved the way for a residential and mixed-use development of up to 1400 dwellings.
While all new builds onsite will be subject to building specific future planning applications, the current request if approved in its current form will essentially act as a masterplan by way of determining what can and cannot be demolished. Heritage consultancy Lovell Chen prepared a heritage impact statement as part of the submission, with excerpts below:
The Kinnears Ropeworks site is included on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) and is designated as a heritage place (H2067). The complex is of historical, social, scientific (technological) and architectural significance to the state of Victoria and is a landmark in the local area and Melbourne’s western suburbs.
The current project proposes substantial development and urban renewal on the registered site.
From a heritage perspective, key actions include the retention, conservation and adaptation of a substantial complex of heritage buildings (the heritage core); and the retention of the distinct heritage street wall facades on Ballarat Road and Farnsworth Street and their incorporation into new build and the reinforcement of key internal laneways within the site.
Other buildings are proposed to be demolished and large areas of the site are to be redeveloped for residential use with some associated retail and community facilities.Lovell Chen: Heritage impact statement
Elenberg Fraser have been engaged by the developer and provided preliminary design input and imagery as part of the submission. The site staging plan calls for four development stages, each including the refurbishment of heritage buildings alongside the delivery of new residential buildings.
At least eight residential buildings are expected over the Kinnears site, ranging in height from five levels through to 18 levels with all new buildings set back from existing heritage facades. Tract Consultants have devised a preliminary landscape plan for the precinct which includes new access roads and a number of laneways and plazas, including the George Kinnear Plaza named after the founder of the business.
Owing to the size of the overall site, the intended development is expected to take over five years to deliver.