Game On for YB Collingwood

The unmistakable hum of hydraulic breakers have taken over in Collingwood of late. Contractor Delta Group has begun demolishing certain structures (including the northern silo store below) on the historic Yorkshire Brewery site. Developer/builder SMA Projects have site signage in place, Delta to date have made swift work of the malt silos whilst marketing material can now be found online, all of which points to an imminent sales campaign launch.

Firstly though, a brief overview. With beginnings in 1858, the site and structures were gradually increased over time as the brewery grew in size and popularity, reaching its zenith during the early 1900's. Subsequent purchase of Yorkshire Brewery by Carlton and United lead to a number of different site uses, with the malt store silos added during 1954. Summed by the Collingwood Historical Society as "A prominent Collingwood landmark for some 140 years and is of statewide significance both architecturally and as a remarkable survivor of Victoria's 19th century brewing industry;" the brew tower also seen below is the site's crowning glory.

For a succinct yet detailed history of the Yorkshire Brewery, visit the Collingwood Historical Society webpage here.

Brand and marketing firm Grenade have devised a campaign with Yorkshire the working moniker for the new development. Conversely creative agency Sense have also produced a campaign for SMA Projects, simply referring to the development as YB Apartments. Both have created an comprehensive marketing package, I guess the victor will be known soon enough.

Marketing maneuvers aside, Heritage Victoria saw it fit to grant a permit for the redevelopment of the former Yorkshire Brewery site, not requiring any changes to be made to the plans. As the Yorkshire Brewery site is on the Victorian Heritage Register, it was mandatory for SMA Projects to seek a permit from Heritage Victoria. To that end project architect Hayball have retained the brew tower, cellar building, stable space and limited silo structure within the approved plans, whilst a new 17 level tower will be set well back form the brew tower, maintaining view lines as much as possible.

Addressed 1-21 Robert Street, Collingwood the development will contain 350 apartments over a variety of buildings ranging between two level townhouses to the aforementioned 17 level tower, which fronts Waterloo Road. Total carparks number 336 while 200 storage cages would also be provided.

Following initial rejection by Yarra City Council, the development team lodged amended plans, with a number of changes revolving around building positioning and setbacks including:

  • Increased setbacks between the central apartment building and the north-west apartment building (14 storeys) to a minimum of 7.2m
  • An additional setback of 6m average is provided to levels 13-16 of the 17 storey apartment building from Waterloo Road
  • A reduced setback of the north-western apartment building to a minimum of 15.7m from the north-south carriageway

Given the development's position, historic setting and surrounding amenity it's a fair assumption it will sell handsomely when released. Great for the developer but the crux of whether this will be a successful development or not will lie in how it interacts with its heritage surrounds, indeed will there be a seamless merge between old and new whilst providing excellent amenity and activation for residents? I may not be the person to answer that in any official capacity, but i just might let my trusty Canon do the talking when the time comes.

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