212-222 La Trobe Street: a story of chocolates and boiled lollies

One of Melbourne's longest running planning applications has found resolution after four years. Stymied by planning authorities owing to its poorly resolved design, 212-222 La Trobe Street's owners scored a win at VCAT during March, with the tribunal granting approval following the commission of Melbourne-based Jackson Clement Borrows to redesign the twin-towered scheme.

It seems now that four years of time and expense on the proponents behalf may result in a serious windfall as the freshly approved scheme has been listed for sale weeks after approval. Billed as one of Melbourne's premier development proposals, the timing of both approval and site sale could not be better, given the record prices currently being paid for CBD development sites by developers.

The failed proposal. Image © Simon Greenwood Architects

The initial scheme conceived by Simon Greenwood Architects and submitted during 2011 would have seen two towers containing 296 apartments, 100 car spaces, ground floor retail and in excess of 1,800sqm of commercial office space. At 142 metres in height the tower was considered excessive but in today's context that would not necessarily be the case.

The building would appear as an extremely prominent structure, being much taller than development around it. A particularly high quality design may potentially be warranted however this is not demonstrated in the current proposal.

Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee Report, 2013

City of Melbourne were less than enthusiastic about the proposal during 2012, citing concerns over height and lack of setbacks, overdevelopment, poor on-site amenity and lack of activation of the street. It was eventually rejected by the State Government in its then form.

212-222 La Trobe Street from the State Library. Image courtesy Savills

Fast forward and Savills are currently spruiking the site which has hit the market for the first time in over 30 years. 212-222 La Trobe Street and 17-25 Little La Trobe Street form part of the site's five street frontages, with total site area at 942sqm.

The revised scheme by Jackson Clement Borrows features 400 apartments within two towers of 39 and 54 storeys which can be delivered simultaneously or in a staged manner. All dwellings within the proposal will achieve a minimum net floor area of 50sqm (inclusive of balconies) according to the restrictions imposed upon the project.

Externally the two towers feature what looks to be fritted curtain wall glazing to all aspects, with a skybridge linking both.

New to the area. Images courtesy MGS & EF

Working on the likelihood that 212-222 La Trobe Street will find a buyer willing to proceed with the approved scheme, it will find itself with new neighbours in the immediate vicinity in the not too distant future.

Aurora Melbourne Central is due to have its site cleared next month in order for Probuild to commence construction works, while 377-391 Swanston Street looms as another large-scale residential development on the radar. Situated on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston, the MGS-designed 33 level tower would see hundreds of new student apartments delivered. Developer Far East has yet to proceed with the scheme which was approved during 2014.


tiankd74's picture

Sorry not quite understand, does it get the approval?

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Sar's picture

In 10 years time walking up Exhibition street will be near impossible, given the wind tunnel these tall buildings will create.

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Melbourne Muse's picture

Thanks goodness that initial cheap rubbish was knocked back!

Marvelous Mega-Melbourne

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Rohan Storey's picture

Cant find any info on 222 apart from this article, what got approved, and seems that construction is starting soon ??


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johnproctor's picture

demolition is for Metro Tunnel Project.

it will form part of the station entry with a major oversite development planned to sit above of a similar scale to what is shown above.

design currently unknown.

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Rohan Storey's picture

Thanks for that, didn’t realise the cbd north included 222. A relief actually, means the eve risk site will have a single tower (maybe two) instead of there being the pair previously proposed for this one site, plus one on the corner, plus of course aurora and the scape tower all squished together.


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