Port Melbourne's long running Waterfront Place saga enters a new phase

The planning equivalent of a 'Days of our Lives' episode may be on the verge of a development resolution.

Action Group Australia's very long and public bid to redevelop a prime slice of land opposite Station Pier has entered its latest phase, with plans now on display for a new design seeking grace the defunct site. Since development plans for 1-7 Waterfront Place first surfaced early this decade, it has been subject to a local resident backlash, Council bids to protect the site from overdevelopment, VCAT hearings and Ministerial intervention.

During 2015, the Minister for Planning approved site specific amendments to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme, which ushered in new policy and planning controls. Among them were a mandatory 35m maximum height limit, in addition to podium, setback and overshadowing requirements.

Via entity Waterfront Place Pty Ltd, Action Group Australia and long serving project architect Fender Katsalidis have come back with revised plans for a substantial residential project featuring a mass of resident amenities.

1-7 Waterfront Place application summary

A broadside perspective of the proposed development. Planning image: Fender Katsalidis
  • Site area: 5,487sqm
  • Currently a vacant amenities complex for the immediate area
  • Proposed: 10 level residential building spanning 38.5m to plant level
  • 175 dwellings: 31 x 1BR, 8 x 1BR townhouse, 103 x 2BR, 14 x 2BR townhouse, 17 x 3BR, 1 x Penthouse
  • Provisions for 244 car spaces across 2 basement levels
  • 184sqm of ground floor retail space
  • A publicly accessible plaza and north-south laneway
  • Amenities include: golf simulator, fitness studio, lounge, lap pool, library, business room, dining and events room.

Two retail tenancies opposite the Port Melbourne railway station frame a proposed western plaza that continues through the development at ground level. A large northern courtyard also breaks the building's form to Beach Street.

The Waterfront Place frontage is dominated by townhouses across the building's podium, whilst public artwork is also set to feature at ground level.

Development at the human scale. Planning image: Fender Katsalidis

1-7 Waterfront Place has spawned a number of designs over the years, with the most notable being an early wave-shaped tower that was also the largest proposal seen for the site. Subsequently, following designs have been more modest in height, with the latest version being the shortest.

On the current scheme, planning consultancy Urbis asserts "DDO23 is a site-specific overlay that has taken into account the strategic location and objectives for the site. Accordingly, this report assesses the planning permits of the proposal, primarily in regard to the objectives and requirements of DDO23 but also the relevant sections of the Port Phillip Planning Scheme."

All things being in accordance with the regulatory formwork, it now looks like one of this city's longest planning sagas will find resolution soon enough.

Designs for Waterfront place that have been consigned to history

1-7 Waterfront Place development team

  • Developer: Waterfront Place Pty Ltd (Action Group Australia)
  • Architecture and Urban Context Report: Fender Katsalidis
  • Planning: Urbis
  • Sustainability Management Plan: Norman Disney & Young
  • Traffic Impact Assessment: Cardno
  • Waste Management Plan: Salt
  • Landscape Plan and Landscape Report: Tract
  • Acoustic Assessment: Acoustic Logic

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