A new development dynamic emerges in Fishermans Bend

A freshly awarded planning permit within Fishermans Bend will take residential development to an existing office and warehouse precinct, creating a unique outcome in the process.

9A/339 Williamstown Road is located within THE BASE complex, an assortment of low-rise outlets which was developed by MAB Corporation approximately 10 years ago. Residential development within a warehouse precinct is a new dynamic within Fishermans Bend, with all projects to date in the Urban Renewal Area put forward by sole developers with no need to consider owners corporations.

Urban Melbourne spoke with project architect John Armsby regarding 9A/339 Williamstown Road and what it means for Fishermans Bend.

9A/339 Williamstown Road. Image courtesy Armsby Architects

The project itself spans ten levels with office accommodation and a car stacker system over the lower levels. Thereafter six whole floorplate apartments are included with 3 bedroom dwellings at approximately 175sqm each, while the penthouse covers the two highest floors.

Externally the project is an extension on the screen idea used to good effect along the rear facade of the award-winning Dimmeys Swan Street Richmond development which was co-conceived with artist Ralf Kempken. The Port Melbourne project also draws upon Railway Place, another Armsby Architects project which drew upon bark patterns and texture.

Richmond Icon provided design impetus. Image courtesy BDAV

A boutique project in a new location

It will be interesting to see the market acceptability of this sort of product as it hasn’t been done in this area, although Wood Marsh produced Mint in Port Melbourne recently and they were predominantly 3 bedroom apartments which ran out the door.

Hocking Stuart seem to think it will find a good spot in the market and I’m confident that there is a market for this product as it is so far away from what everyone else is doing; it may make a few developers sit and take notice.

The site itself is in my opinion on of the best in Fisherman’s Bend being so close to the existing residential of Garden City that it should be acceptable to the market immediately.

It also fronts directly onto Murphy Reserve so has city views looking straight over 800m of parkland which should never be built out.

John Armsby, Armsby Architects

Developing a new dynamic

According to John Armsby the site presented a number of challenges and unusual issues which he feels will become more prevalent over time as smaller land parcels within Fishermans Bend are presented for development.

Falling under an owners corporation meant dealing with other owners who didn't necessarily have the same point of view in that a number failed to recognise that gaining planning approval would automatically heighten the value of their warehouse, or handsomely increase the value of adjoining properties.

I find it difficult to contemplate that any investor would not want to improve the value of their asset but that is what I have been seeing.

John Armsby, Armsby Architects

Longer term, John Armsby believes that several other sites will eventually encounter similar issues, namely the Port Park office and warehouse complex opposite with the same pattern of individual owners seeking to develop their own lot.

Encountering owners corporations and developing individual lots within commercial and industrial estates are issues which haven't been encountered to date in urban renewal areas such as Docklands or Fishermans Bend; in many ways 9A/339 Williamstown Road and Armsby Architects have blazed a trail for others to follow.

Lead image courtesy realcommercial.com.au and Armsby Architects.

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