A new Melbourne icon squarely in Minister Wynne's hands: 447 Collins Street

Should Melbourne City Council likely provide its support for the revised 447 Collins Street proposal put forward by Cbus Property, it will then require Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to use his powers of intervention to approve the project which transgresses the recent Amendment C262 planning controls.

A joint architectural effort between Woods Bagot and New York-based SHoP Architects, the project has been heavily reduced in height form its initial 295 metre submission to 165 metres. Even so the proposal would be prohibited under Amendment C262 in that it would still cast a shadow over the north bank of the Yarra River.

The development team have requested dispensation in order to facilitate the uniquely shaped development, with the project potentially set to be the first to receive a Ministerial waiver since the September implementation of the revised planning controls.

Application summary

Hero perspective of 433-455 Collins Street. Image courtesy Woods Bagot/SHoP Architects
  • Plans dated October 27, 2015.
  • 5,926.6sqm site, currently vacant post recent demolition.
  • 2,000sqm of new public space at ground level.
  • Expected project cost of $1.25 billion.
  • Dual 47 level towers connected via skybridge with an overall height of 165 metres.
  • 269 hotel suites and 315 apartments.
  • 68,365sqm of A-grade office space.
  • 500sqm of retail space.
  • Basement allowance for 487 vehicles and 501 bicycles.
  • 161,740sqm GFA.
  • Plot ratio of 24.2:1.

Open space for all

Proposed ground plane activation without Market Street. Image courtesy Woods Bagot/SHoP Architects

Ground level is slated to hold a tree grove, promenade and ampitheatre which will form the backbone of the project's publicly accessible spaces. Retail outlets will feature around the differing podiums and each will be individually framed with increased design presence to discern themselves form typical glass fronted retail stores which define many contemporary developments.

The natural gradient of the site will see Flinders Lane act as lower ground level with project vehicular access confined to one crossover.

In addition to contributing $500,000 to the possible discontinuation of Market Street toward Collins Street, the development team have allowed for the likelihood of the 1,500sqm parcel melding with 447 Collins Street's new public realm. For their part Melbourne City Council have indicated that the mooted discontinuation of Market Street would cost approximately $3 million and take up to two years to implement.

Bridging the divide

Both towers will be separated by a 14 metre span with the project's signature design element, a glass encased 'bridge' at the summit.

The bridge link will result in a spectacular architectural form that will be uniquely Melbourne and will set this proposal apart from other contemporary architectural responses in this city.

The unique form is separated from the lower tower elements through variations in glazing type, punctuation of balconies to provide texture and the use of balustrades running vertically in line with the tower separation. The upper portion of the bridge link will also incorporate the textured chevron design to further add visual interest and break down the mass ans scale that might otherwise be experienced.

Urbis: Planning Report

MCC planners in favour

The key issues in relation to this amendment are built form, provision of publicly accessible space and overshadowing. The amendment enables the development of the site with a unique building that is generally acceptable in terms of its architecture, height, setbacks, tower separation, internal amenity and façade activation.

A significant amount of publicly accessible space is to be provided within the site which has good access to sunlight, will achieve comfortable wind conditions, incorporate (where applicable) landscaping with deep soil planting and provide true public street connections.

The proposal did comply with the sunlight to public spaces requirements prior to Amendment C262. The amendment is now prohibited because it casts additional shadow across the north bank of the Yarra (15 metres north from the Yarra River’s edge). The application documentation shadow analysis shows that the extent (length) of shadow is significantly reduced when compared with the previous amendment.

Report to the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee

It has been recommended that Melbourne City Council support the Master Plan for 447 Collins Street, all but clearing one of the largest hurdles toward the project becoming reality. Minister for Planning Richard Wynne now shapes as the pivotal factor in the approval process.

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