Base image courtesy Bird de la Coeur

Prime Time in Forrest Hill

Residential projects keep piling into South Yarra's Forrest Hill Precinct with the latest development at sales titled Prime Tower. Formerly home to private investment and property development business Lyons Capital, 47 Claremont Street's ownership now lies with another Melbourne-based developer, Alpha 14.

Designed by Richmond-based David Earle Architects, Prime Tower will span 15 levels or 53 metres and hold 59 apartments over one and two-bedroom formats. Included within the distinct blue and yellow, 6 star energy rated building are allowances for 40 vehicles and 25 bicycles.

Forrest Hill as a whole

A 2013 report delivered by property consultancy Charter Keck Cramer outlines the current and future prospects of the precinct:

Forrest Hill is now characterised as a mixed use development, with in excess of 30 properties in the precinct either developed, under construction or at varying stages of development commencing preparation. Research by Charter Keck Cramer and Urbis both indicate that circa 3000 new apartments are expected to be delivered over the next ten years, driving the population to approximately 5000 by 2020, while employment is anticipated to grow to approximately 6000 by 2020.

The precinct's most active architect, Bird de la Coeur states:

In December 2005, Stonnington Council adopted the Forrest Hill Precinct Structure Plan, which included the implementation of an east-west pedestrian link and enhancements to the streetscape, public realm and infrastructure to accommodate this new high-density activity.

A total $4 billion worth of development is slated for the precinct. By 2018, 10,000 people are expected to live and work here. The location - next to the railway station, near major tram routes and close to arterial roads and the Monash Freeway - makes Forrest Hill a showpiece for Melbourne's urban consolidation.

Current precinct activity

The hum of construction activity reverberates through Forrest Hill with five major apartment projects currently moving skyward. Ella, Lucia/Chiara, Yarra House, Central South Yarra and Alto Apartments together are adding a massive 1179 dwellings to the precinct with roughly 3000 new residents to follow.

In addition to Prime Tower, the soon to be released Claremont Manor and a rejigged Capitol Tower have the ability to further add 863 apartments to the mix.

A new urban environment

The precinct's ability to morph into a mixed-use hub has been successful beyond doubt, but what of the environment at street level. Has enough been done to activate and beautify the public realm to match the success of the many towers that surround it?

Aside from Zumbo Patissier, Two Birds One Stone and Yarra Lane the area still feels somewhat barren at street level. Works similar to those performed on Cremorne Street would fit in quite well particularly along Claremont Street; Bio-retention basins and increased greenery fit the bill, but this is a topic for another day.

Forrest Hill continues to be a runaway success, yet as suitable sites within the precinct diminish in number it will be interesting to see the size and scope of future projects, and what they may add to the overall Forrest Hill experience.

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