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Could 311 Spencer Street become one of Melbourne's tallest office towers?

With construction tenders called for during May, the new Victoria Police Centre at 311 Spencer Street appears to be moving ever closer to reality. But what form will the new tower take?

According to the Ozscrapers forum, a new application has been lodged for the project which greatly expands the design to 39 storeys or 174 metres. To be built on a vacant piece of land adjoining the relatively new City West Police Complex, the tower was originally intended to accommodate approximately 40,000sqm of office space over 20-storeys.

Having put the scheme out to tender, CBUS Property and Australia Post would be ready to go with the initial Woods Bagot-designed scheme, pending final negotiations with the Victorian Government. Regardless of the design, the development team would likely be required to have the building operational by 2020, when Victoria Police's current lease at the World Trade Centre expires.

311 Spencer Street old and new? Image ourtesy Skyrise85 via Ozscrapers

The reworked design, which would be the tallest office tower to be constructed in the city for over two decades, features a sloping roof across three levels, and a number of similarities in expression and articulation to OMA's De Rotterdam project in The Netherlands. It should be noted that of the current crop of prospective commercial towers, 80 Collins Street is approved at a taller height, but proponent QIC have stumbled in getting the tower to construction.

Whatever its final form, 311 Spencer Street continues the ongoing transformation of Spencer Street, eliminating the gap between the Spencer Outlet Centre and City West Police Complex at 313 Spencer Street, while also covering the latter's substantial concrete core.

311 Spencer Street's revised design. Image courtesy Skyrise85 via Ozscrapers

Diagonally opposite 311 Spencer Street is Far East Consortium's pending West Side Place development, featuring Ritz Carlton set within the development's tallest tower at 270 metres. As the CBD continues to expansion westward into Docklands, locating Victoria Police in a single centrally located complex adjacent to Southern Cross Station looks to be the current thought process.

Cbus Property's 311 Spencer Street along with the likes of 477 Collins Street, 405 Bourke Street, 130 Lonsdale Street, 695 Collins Street, 80 Collins Street and 271 Spring Street are set to herald the next wave of commercial office towers, following the unprecedented boom in residential towers over recent years.

With the recent topping out of its flagship residential project at 35 Spring Street, CBUS Property will be keeping busy with its mixed-use Collins Arch project which also features a considerable slab of premium office space. Site preparations will begin during September with construction proper commencing during 2017.

Collins Arch. Image courtesy of Colliers
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