Another Sturt Street skyscraper is brought back down to earth

The end game is approaching for another major planning application which predated the now permanent planning controls for Melbourne's CBD and parts of Southbank.

Having been submitted during mid 2015, 131-139 Sturt Street is now headed for VCAT on the basis of the Minister for Planning’s failure to determine upon the application within the allocated time. Originally spanning 42 levels, the latest design for the 2,884sqm site now sees approval sought for an 18 storey tower; less than half the height of the 2015 version.

A report set to go before the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee noted 115 objections have been received for the earlier, taller version of the development.

Due to a raft of design changes, "the development achieves a Floor Area Ratio consistent with DDO60 (10:1) with setbacks that are generally in excess of the requirements of DDO60. A setback of 10m above the street wall fronting Sturt Street is proposed which is double the required 5m street setback."

This in turn has prompted City of Melbourne's planners to support the revised plans, subject to conditions.

The revised 131-139 Sturt Street. Planning image: Hayball

Located onsite, design practice Hayball is both architect and applicant for the redevelopment.

A variety of tenancies and an enhanced mid block link to Dodds Street will spearhead the development's push for increased ground level activity; 131-139 Sturt Street abuts the Malthouse Theatre and Arts House. According to the report, "the provision of these active uses and the through block link are supported in principle however further design revision is required in order to provide an improved outcome and to support activity within the Arts Precinct."

A summary of changes to the application highlights the severe loss of height relative to the initial submission:

June 2015 application 2017 revision
42 levels / 134m 18 levels / 57.7m
341 apartments 206 apartments
226 car parking spots 199 car parking spots
151 bicycle bays 177 bicycle bays
2,094sqm of retail/commercial/adaptable space 717sqm of retail/commercial space
Projects planned for Sturt Street

131-139 Sturt Street's revision downwards has brought in into line with a handful of other projects slated for the Southbank thoroughfare.

The twisting 248-250 Sturt Street was also significantly higher when initially submitted, though it too fell foul at planning, eventually lopped from 40 levels to 16 levels in order to gain approval. G3 Projects and Crown Group are jointly developing 175-187 Sturt Street with early renders for that project suggesting a 13 level building with 170 apartments expected.

268 Sturt Street was also recently sold with indicative renders showing dual 18 level towers a possible outcome. 

1 comment

Nicholas Harrison's picture

The City of Melbourne has decided not to support the planning officers recommendation to approve the application for the following reasons:

⦁ The proposed massing, scale and height of the development fails to respond to its context.
⦁ The development fails to recognise and respond to the significance of the arts precinct in which it is located.

Considering the many significantly more poorly designed applications that Council has supported in recent years it is disappointing that they did not support this proposal.

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