Gunnersen's radical Fishermans Bend intentions in limbo?

Timber merchant Gunnersen looks to have stumbled in an initial bid to revamp its Port Melbourne headquarters into a multi-towered residential development.

As City of Port Phillip tabled a less than glowing report on the proposal last week, the project's status on the State Planning Register has been adjusted to 'on hold'. A planning application for the massive 17,500sqm site was lodged during April, lasting only a handful of months until it was recently placed in hiatus.

Under plans devised by ARM Architecture the entire site would be cleared, including an office building which is graded as a significant Heritage place, in favour of six buildings of between 12 and 18 storeys. 

Located within the Wirraway precinct of Fishermans Bend, 112 Salmon Street is one of three separate applications lodged within the Urban Renewal Area this year. Planning activity has this year slowed to a crawl within Fishermans Bend, as the State Government looks to solidify planning controls for the Urban Renewal Area.

112 Salmon Street application summary

North East perspective. Planning image: ARM Architecture
  • Existing use: Timber yard
  • Site area: 17,552 with 3 street frontages
  • Proposed: 6 buildings between 12-18 storeys, maximum height 57.55m
  • 636 apartments:  289 x 1BR,162 x 2BR, 185 x 3BR
  • Tower separation: 19.65m and above between all towers
  • 603 car parking spaces and 689 bicycle bays
  • Public facilities: 4,600sqm including play equipment, park and sport courts beneath electricity lines
  • Resident facilities: Dual rooftop podium open spaces, gym, pool, yoga room, resident lounge
  • 370sqm of retail space within 2 tenancies, 605sqm childcare centre

A finish like no other

ARM Architecture have brought their typical design flair to the initial application.

Brick snap cladding in ten different colours/finishes (black glazed, black, blue, cream, orange, grey terracotta, pink, and brick face, and terracotta screen) forms the bulk of the design's exterior, along with timber cladding, timber and painted steel detailing, steel piping, black steel window reveals, clear and fritted glazing.

Complying with the DDO30 maximum building height, podium height and tower separation requirements, the application delivers a site plot ration of 5:1.

Port Phillip's take on the application

City of Port Phillip's report on 112 Salmon Street is informal in that it is not binding and is considered advisory. Nonetheless various aspects that City of Port Phillip chose to highlight may explain why the planning application has been placed on hold at the State lavel.

Under the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan (September 2016), 112 Salmon Street is identified as the land appropriate for Neighbourhood Open Space. Key to this assertion are the "high voltage electricity transmission lines which reduce the sites appropriateness / desirability for residential development."

In the line of power. Planning image: ARM Architecture

The proposal was internally referred and officers raised concerns including inconsistency with the FBSFP identification of the site as Open Space, inconsistency with local policy for employment and affordable housing, the extent of demolition, the design and/or width of the internal road network, building setbacks...and architectural and urban design matters.

Open space areas along the southern perimeter of the land and podium roof top level would be overshadowed through most of the day, and would have reduced amenity as a result of being beneath or in close proximity to major electricity transmission lines.

Officers disagree with the applicant’s arguments for demolition of all of the buildings on the land, and believe the existing offices and one of the existing industrial buildings are suitable for retention and adaptive reuse, as part of any mixed use or open space development of the site.

It is considered these concerns cannot be ameliorated by conditions to modify the proposal and the development of the land needs to be fundamentally reconsidered having regard to the Strategic Framework Plan and Fishermans Bend Vision.


Development & Planning

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 12:00
The City of Melbourne's Future (Planning) Committee this week resolved to issue conditional approval for a 10-storey building at 1071-1081 Hoddle Street in East Melbourne. The building would rise to a height of 31.54m and accommodate 26 apartments on a triangular shaped site with a total area of 311 sqm.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 12:00
Carolyn Whitzman , University of Melbourne Liveability is an increasingly important goal of Australian planning policy. And creating cities where residents can get to most of the services they need within 20 to 30 minutes has been proposed, at both federal and state level, as a key liveability-related mechanism.

Visual Melbourne

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:00
Part Three follows on from the Part One: Yarra's Edge and Part Two: Victoria Harbour. The focus of today's piece will be NewQuay and Harbour Town, the northern most precincts within Docklands. NewQuay NewQuay was the first precinct to open way back in 2003 and has probably evolved the most.


Transport & Design

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 07:15
CBRE in recent weeks has begun marketing a development site at 118 City Road in Southbank which has been branded as 'Flagship'. The 6,191sqm site is currently home to a BMW dealership and showroom, and has significant potential to add to what is set to become on of the densest city blocks in Melbourne, boasting towers of 200m through to over 300m.

Sustainability & Environment

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:00
The greening of Southbank is a step closer to reality following the endorsement of the draft concept plan for Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street by the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday, 18 July, 2017.