The sign on the door may say "display suite closed" but one glance through the window sees a display fully fitted and ready for business. Covering the addresses 19-35 Flemington Road, the former motorcycle and auto repair venue was purchased early 2012 by expanding Melbourne-based property developer UAG Holdings with notions of a development approaching an end value of approximately $200 million in mind.
Consequently the planning process has run its course to the point where Urban Melbourne has been watching the display come together, carrying signage for one of Australia's largest builders, Probuild, during the process which may well indicate the impending project has a chosen builder in place.
September 2012 saw UAG along with prominent Melbourne firm SJB Architects deliver an initial planning application. At 13 levels to its highest point the scheme was to carry 400 apartments and 344 associated car parking spaces. 123 bike spaces were to be incorporated as was 4,655sqm of retail space over a site with a land area of 4,061sqm. Site dimensions see a 50m frontage to Flemington Road and 70m to the perpendicular Blackwood Road.
To be included were 166 one bed options, 171 two bedroom apartments and a further 56 two bedroom plus study apartments. Although the initial design seemed somewhat heavy with precast balconies and stubby at 13 levels, a revised planning application was submitted during June this year. With the precast exterior banished, a new contemporary, sleek, curved glass facade will face Flemington Road, seemingly drawing the best elements from a previous SJB design - A Place To Live in Richmond.
Covered by the City North Structure Plan, an overlay implemented by the City of Melbourne to facilitate/guide intensive redevelopment, it seems North's project team have utilised the structure plan by extending the height of the western flank to 19 levels or approximately 60m in height. The resultant tower form is of a more elegant nature and visually in balance with the remainder of the complex while retaining a similar number of apartments to the original scheme.
Upon completion North will join a growing number of high quality contemporary towers within close proximity to the Haymarket Roundabout. The near future will likely see 690-708 Elizabeth Street and 5 Bedford Place join the now under construction Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and existing Melbourne University Economics & Commerce Building in turning the tired area into a high quality, high-rise entry point for Melbourne's CBD.
Going by images available via North's website, internal apartment finishes will be available in either a light or dark motif. Seen below is an example of what is the darker finish, epitomized by the caliginous floorboards, kitchenette, cabinetry and tiling and contrasted by timber clad over the external spaces - a nice touch and an impressive view as well!
North's foyer will feature a lounge area with a sculpture that bares an uncanny resemblance to the work of Dion Horstmans; suspended from the ceiling the piece is sure to be a project highlight. North's residential amenity offerings will include an external lap pool, podium landscaping and deck - images of which can be seen by clicking the links at the bottom of the article.
North will have its public launch shortly with further information to follow.
Project website: http://north-melbourne.com/