Historic buildings on Southbank are as rare as proverbial hen's teeth. Yet one of the few that has not been subject to development thus far is in line for a major new addition, with plans afoot for a hotel and high-end apartments.
The Robur Tea Building or Tea House at 28 Clarendon Street is included on the Victorian Heritage Register for its scientific, historical and architectural significance, and dates back to 1887. Developer RJ International hopes that in addition to bringing the Tea House back to its past glory, the State Government will find their plans for a 39 storey tower satisfactory.
Geelong-based architecture firm CLWA and heritage architects Lovell Chen have undertaken design work on the the elliptical tower.
In addition to pre-application discussions with various governing bodies, the project team have also met with the Department of Justice, which owns the adjoining Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and CitiPower who maintain a caveat affecting the site; both have given in-principle support for the redevelopment.
In addition to the tower, the intended development will include a refurbishment of the Tea House, with the southern lift core to be demolished and the original facade reinstated. The refurbishment will also see Tea House altered from a commercial building to a multi-purpose structure, encapsulating a retail space to Clarendon Street, hotel lobby, restaurant, function centre and hotel suites within the existing structure.
The intended tower abuts a section of the Tea House's southern facade, in order to provide passage between old and new structures. The tower's ground level is set back 13m to 20m from Clarendon Street, with a landscaped forecourt accounting for the remaining space. The existing northern car park will be reworked but maintained for the hotel's principal drop-off zone.
The tower's lower levels will be predominantly clad in tessellated and perforated masonry and concrete screening, effectively shrouding vehicle parking within the podium structure. Amenities crown the podium with further hotel suites and apartments behind black curtain glazing thereafter.
Melbourne's appetite for further hotel and serviced apartment suites is on show along Clarendon Street.
In addition to 28 Clarendon Street's 312 hotel suites, Yang Clarendon Pty Ltd has a mixed-use tower at 56 Clarendon Street under planning consideration. Along with hundreds of new apartments within the 48 storey mixed-use tower, 128 serviced apartment suites have been included over the design's lower levels.
64-68 Clarendon Street is also in the pipeline, with construction nearing commencement for a new Peppers Southbank hotel which is approved to yield a further 165 rooms over a 412sqm site.