Approval is being sought for a mixed use Southbank skyscraper that will assume the form of a flower. Designed by Elenberg Fraser, 51-65 Clarke Street would surpass the 200 metre mark in a pocket of Southbank nestled alongside the West Gate Freeway.
Developer Newcity Group has also sought to add a unique feature to the project; a dedicated business and cultural exchange centre atop the tower that would seek to strengthen ties between Melbourne and southern China's economic powerhouse city of Guangzhou.
Documents within the planning application also indicate that the project would create thousands of construction jobs over the life of the project and 140 ongoing jobs linked to the hotel element within the tower.
The plans for 51-65 Clarke Street follows on from the site's successful sale during 2014, where CBRE City Sales were able to secure the vendor $30.4 million for the tri-fronted development plot.
Newcity Development (One) Pty Ltd is behind the proposal, one of many Chinese-backed developers that have descended upon Melbourne in recent years.
According to the application's Town Planning Report, "The Newcity Group and more relevantly Cao Zhiwei, the Chairman of ‘Newcity Group’ is a member of the political advisory body of Guangzhou. This development, and in particular the exchange hub is seen as a significant step in establishing a destination and beacon for commerce between Guangzhou and Melbourne."
Thus far the following businesses have been noted as providing support for the intended business and cultural exchange:
The site is subject to Design and Development Overlay Schedule 10 (DDO10), which was introduced into the Melbourne Planning Scheme during September 2015 as part of the broader C262 amendments implemented by Minister Wynne.
As initially submitted, the Elenberg Fraser design complied to podium height, street setback and tower setback requirements, although a plot ratio of 35:1 results. Above the discretionary desired plot ratio of 24:1, the development team has in turn requested a variation to allow the tower to proceed as planned.
It is worth noting that the development team sought and was granted an extension of time request for the submission during February 2016; what results from subsequent projects refinements remains to be seen.
51-65 Clarke Street's form which is based upon the shape of a Bombax Ceiba Flower is the latest of a number of shapely Southbank talls to create headlines of late.
Last week it was widely reported that Crown Limited and Schiavello have formally submitted a proposal for their 1 Queensbridge Street tower. According to Fairfax, the tower would hold 306,666 of Gross Floor Area and maintain a plot ratio of 57:1.
Also in the news is the flowing 54-56 Clarke Street project created by BKK Architects which has been placed on the market with planning approval in tow.
At 240 metres 54-56 Clarke Street shadows 51-65 Clarke Street for height, with both future towers opposite one another.