Southbank set to gain a new park

At a point where City of Melbourne are grappling with multiple projects aimed toward beautifying Southbank, a current planning application at the behest of private Malaysian developer PJD Property intends to create a new park and surrounding open spaces far superior to anything currently found within postcode 3006.

Plans have been touched upon in recent months for 93-119 Kavanagh Street which many readers would currently identify as a sprawling open air car park adjoining CityLink that covers the best part of a city block or approximately 21,000sqm.

In addition to six intended high-rise towers for the site, project lead Cox Architecture and design partner Rush Wright Landscape Architects have added considerable green spaces into the project master plan. These spaces are expected to not only service the project which has been dubbed Kavanagh Park but also create a green space network throughout Southbank by linking with adjoining sites.

To the north of Kavanagh Park lies the Boyd Community Hub site which is due for a new high-rise residential tower and new public park while to the south lies ancillary green CityLink land.

The urban park as envisaged from Kavanagh Street. Image courtesy Cox Architecture

The Kavanagh Park master plan identifies the need to "plug widely observed gaps in the more localised existing provisions of open space, local services and amenities in Southbank." As a guide the development team have referenced the design brief for the adjoining Boyd site in order to gauge the size and functionality of open spaces included within the Kavanagh Park site.

In addition to the new park and greatly enhanced public realm network Cox Architecture have identified active podiums, laneways and liveable streets as key CBD attributes which they have incorporated into Kavanagh Park.

Kavanagh Park key landscape design principles

A landscape master plan has been devised as part of the proposed development, with key design approaches identified. They include:

  • Creation of a public landscape network - with generous pedestrian spaces - which keys into Kavanagh Street as a wide, green east west corridor within Southbank, linking local community infrastructure.
  • Landscape character - a blend of “civic with some neighbourhood eccentricity (not corporate)" to make permanent public amenity at ground level and landscape levels over structure.
  • Use of natural durable materials, detailing, lighting and inbuilt furniture which ages gracefully.
  • Installation of large canopy trees and water - signature elements for intimate scale pocket parks and a new city park space.
  • Landscape design for flexibility of use and diversity of residents - families, community events, BBQs.
  • Establishment of urban forest canopy - equivalence between podium and tree scale - and botanic diversity supporting different ecological values.
  • Public spaces which are safe, well lit, activated with a diversity of building programme with passive surveillance 24/7.
An overview of the precinct. Image courtesy Cox Architecture

The most recent demographic data on Southbank’s population, received from City of Melbourne provides a picture of the makeup of households in the Southbank area. This research has informed our approach to an open space brief for the site, the potential residential and employment makeup and the different groups who may use the public spaces.

This data shows there is a need to balance the mix of open space offered within the Southbank precinct and across neighbouring park developments. The landscape design should focus on the role of open space for “backyard” functions in an area with 94% of dwellings being apartments.

Kavanagh Park master plan

Parkland first to arrive

The main park will be delivered immediately. Image courtesy Cox Architecture

While the overall project is expected to be rolled out over six stages and possibly see additional parties join PJD Property in developing the substantial towers, the public park will be delivered immediately upon the master plan receiving approval according to planning documents.

Stage One will see the main park fronting Kavanagh Street, a supermarket, food hall, further retail, child care centre and gym delivered. According to the master plan creating the park and associated community facilities "upfront is a rare and positive outcome for the Southbank community as it fills the currently recognised gaps in services and activity for current residents."


Melbman's picture

If this is built like this it will be an impressive addition to the area.

Who knows though, will the site get planning permission and be flipped and watered down as is so commonly done? Always a possibility.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

They could easily prevent that outcome by including a planning permit condition that the open space must be completed before construction begins on any of the buildings or the land is subdivided and the tower lots sold to other developers.

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Dean's picture

While the overall project is expected to be rolled out over six stages and possibly see additional parties join PJD Property in developing the substantial towers, the public park will be delivered immediately upon the master plan receiving approval according to planning documents.

It will be built first.

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johnproctor's picture

next step in the 'park network' is to find a way to get pedestrians across the freeway interchange. Combined 4 hectares of land - with the most obvious bit to give people access to being the centre of the Power Street off ramp from the Domain tunnel which is nearly a hectare of landscaped space today innaccessible due to the circular off ramp.

perhaps access could be under the Power Street bridge from Sturt Street.

note - as I understand it this was used as alocation to cap contaminated soils. doesn't really limit surface use. obviously its also a noisy spot so not overly comfortable - but still should be a cheap way to access 7000sqm of parkland!,144.9656095,430m/data=!3m1!1e3

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Melbman's picture

^^ The CoM's draft visions for the area have seemingly had a parkload over the top of the freeway portal. We will see how easy that is to achieve though :)

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Alastair Taylor's picture

From the City of Melbourne:

Recommendation from management--
8. That the Future Melbourne Committee resolves that a letter be sent to the Department of Environment,
Land, Water and Planning indicating that the Melbourne City Council supports the Master Plan subject to
the revised principles and conditions contained within the Delegate Report (refer to Attachment 4).

See their full report here:

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Rohan Storey's picture

Impressive that they've offered to build in some park-like open space, something not actually envisaged in any of the plans for southbank up to now ! Pity that its here, sort of at the back end, and rather over shadowed by the wall of central equity towers on the other (north) side of the street, so it wont be sunny in winter, but great that developers are proposing some actual public benefit, even when they didnt have to !


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