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Top Cop Shop: 311 Spencer Street gains City of Melbourne support

At its recent Future (Planning) Committee, the City of Melbourne resolved to provide conditional support to Cbus Property's office development at 311 Spencer Street.

The Woods Bagot designed tower will occupy a 5,136 sqm site with a frontage to Spencer Street of approximately 55m, yielding an above ground GFA of 107,129 sqm.

As mentioned in an earlier article, Victoria Police will be vacating their current premises at 637 Flinders Street to occupy the 40-storey tower, which will link to the existing City West Police Complex at 313 Spencer Street via a bridge. Victoria Police will sublease part of the tower to the Australian Federal Police, thus allowing for the redevelopment of the ADF offices at 383 La Trobe Street.

Aerial of the new headquarters for Victoria Police designed by Woods Bagot. Image: Cbus Property

In addition to office accommodation, the tower program will include 2 levels of amenities, seven levels of above ground parking and four basement levels with provision for 600 parking spaces. These above ground parking levels will be shrouded in a combination of glazing and louvres. A public foyer, police museum (to the street) and 526 bike spaces with end-of-trip facilities (to the rear) will be provided to the ground floor.

According to the Council's report the development's setbacks will avoid a ‘wall of towers’ due to the existing setbacks of the City West Police Complex and the future development potential of the adjoining Spencer Outlet Centre. Additionally the tower's form and orientation help to reduce the impact of the building's mass as does the facade articulation which distinguishes it from its neighbour.

The proposed development readily meets the podium height and setback requirements of DDO10 and the proposed built form offers a public benefit in the form of an office building that significantly exceeds the Floor Area Uplift requirements to justify a plot ratio of greater than 18:1. The overall high quality of the architecture ensures (sic) that the built form presents a balanced and engaging design response at ground, podium and tower levels subject to conditions.

The proposal will make a positive contribution to the western end of the Central Business District and generally satisfies the requirements of the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Report to the Future (Planning) Committee

While the development's plot ratio of 20.86:1 is in excess of the Capital City Zone's (CCZ) plot ratio of 18:1, the proposal's delivery of commercial office space as a public benefit satisfies the requirements necessary to achieve the proposed Floor Area Uplift. This is as per the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning's (DELWP) How to Calculate Floor Area Uplifts and Public Benefits. The public benefit calculations are based on a GFA of 107,129 sqm resulting in;

  • Value of Floor Area Uplift: $9,399,500
  • Value of Public Benefit: $166,870,500

While the proposal awaits final approval from Planning Minister Richard Wynne, Cbus Property has appointed Probuild as the Preferred Contractor to deliver the new headquarters for Victoria Police.

This construction is of major significance to Victoria and the commercial building industry. We are thrilled to be working with Cbus Property and Victoria Police to deliver such an important project. Typically our largest markets have been in retail and residential sectors, however we’ve been preparing to enter large-scale commercial and civic projects by seriously adding to our technical and resource capabilities for a long time now.

Probuild
View along Spencer Street towards the proposed office tower. Image: Cbus Property

Pending Departmental approval, 311 Spencer Street will begin construction ASAP targeting a 2019 completion date. In the context of the surrounding precinct's forecast construction, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Spencer Outlet Centre in the next 3-5 years. Watch this space.

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Cbus still adamant of a June start

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