As one of the city's last applications judged under previous planning regulations, the chronology of 478-488 Elizabeth Street makes for interesting reading and perhaps points to the convoluted transitional process between old and new planning laws.
At the peak of the Asian-backed development wave sweeping Melbourne during 2015, entity L1-2013 Pty Ltd lodged plans for 478-488 Elizabeth Street. The 1,168 square metre site is wedged between two of Melbourne most recent additions, namely the 226 metre Vision Apartments and Victoria One at 241 metres.
At 68 levels, 478-488 Elizabeth Street would have included 383 apartments, 198 hotel suites and cafe/retail spaces at ground level, set within a 208 metre Elenberg Fraser-designed tower.
During their assessment of the merits of the application, Melbourne City Council planners found numerous shortcomings with the design, citing lack of setbacks as a key sticking point.
Refused by Planning Minister Richard Wynne during February of this year, 478-488 Elizabeth Street's fate took an unusual turn with the site being listed with CBRE City Sales after the minister's refusal. The site was offered for sale subject to attaining a permit via International Expressions of Interest campaign which closed last week.
This was of course after officially being rejected.
Nonetheless the team behind the proposed mixed-use tower now look set to have their time before VCAT in the hope of gaining the green light for the tower. CBRE City Sales in their recent campaign cited the project at 62 levels; the resultant loss of a number of levels would have likely seen the project's internals numbers reworked.
478-488 Elizabeth Street is one of two projects of considerable height still in the race to call the northern stretch of Elizabeth Street home. According to the State Government's online planning platform, 441-447 Elizabeth Street is also still under assessment, having initially been lodged during 2014.
478-488 Elizabeth Street's struggles through planning comes at a time when a similarly sized approved skyscraper just metres away from Elizabeth Street has been offered for sale. Paradigm at 111 A'Beckett Street is also in the hands of CBRE City Sales, with the eventual buyer attaining the right to develop 632 apartments across 64 levels.
As an interesting side note Lord Major Robert Doyle has been a vocal advocate for a skyscraper on the Munro site which in also in close proximity to Elizabeth Street.