New Sky thinking: 88 Melbourne

First covered on Urban Melbourne over two years ago, 88 Melbourne was officially launched by New Sky Group on 30 April, marking its first major foray into the Melbourne market.

The project has already proven popular with locals currently living within Southbank and interstate purchasers with buyers from Sydney in particular.

The $100 million 60-storey tower, located in the Southbank Entertainment Precinct is designed by RotheLowman in conjunction with KPDO.

Inspired by hand crafted jewelry and the art of origami, the building features a three-dimensional diamond patterned façade, that will shimmer during the day. This will be further accentuated in the evening sky by an integrated LED installation, the first residential tower in Melbourne to feature a full height LED lighting design.

88 Melbourne hero perspective. Image courtesy of New Sky Group

88 Melbourne will have a sophisticated presence in the city and change the way people think of apartment living. It will be an iconic Melbourne address and a lasting moment in the evolution of local architecture and how we design for changing life-stages.

Chris Hayton, Principal, RotheLowman

88 Melbourne will be Melbourne’s first apartment building to feature hand-crafted kitchen appliances by Sub- Zero and Wolf, the brand associated with professional chefs internationally including Heston Blumenthal, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.

At time of writing, 72 of 252 apartments within 88 Melbourne have been sold in the first 3 weeks, with 50% of the 1 bedroom apartments sold. Apartments range in size from 50-58sqm for 1 bedroom apartments, up to 88sqm for 2 bedroom and 113-158sqm for the 3 bedroom apartments with an average of five apartments per floor.

Penthouses occupy full floors and feature floor to ceiling heights of four metres.

Sales agent Matt George of Urban Activation said 88 Melbourne was a unique project for the city and with the introduction of stricter planning controls meant the chances of views being built out were less likely particularly above level 44. 88 Melbourne identified a gap in the market for owner-occupier driven apartment stock within the CBD and Southbank according to Matt.

The city has not seen a CBD tower of this scale designed specifically with owner occupiers in mind before. While investors will undoubtedly be interested in this building, its residents will overwhelmingly reside here.

It reflects an evolution to a more New York urban style of living in Melbourne, as more and more families and empty nesters trade their family home for an urban pad with everything they need either in their building or on their doorstep.

Matt George, Urban Activation
Level 8 recreational facilities. Image courtesy New Sky Group

The AFR has reported that 88 Melbourne has received consent from Planning Minister Richard Wynne to increase its height by six floors to an overall height of 199 metres, or 208 metres to top of plant. Construction of 88 Queensbridge is expected to commence in late October / early November with an expected construction programme of two years.


Bilby's picture

It's hard to believe that empty nesters and families with the sort of cash needed to buy in to this building will want to live in this neighbourhood, criss-crossed as it is by busy roads, and located near a busy bridge, just behind the casino. If there is anyone on this forum who has bought in, I would be interested to hear your reasoning on why you've chosen this location to live over other options in the price bracket and dwelling size.

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Michael Berquez's picture


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Melb on's picture

You would have to be the most negative person on this forum Bilby. Is there anything you like at all?? After reading you comments on thread after thread, I feel like graduating more and more over to Skyscraper C.

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Bilby's picture

Seriously? I don't think my point is "negative", just accurate. How many wealthy empty nesters or families are moving to Southbank? They're evidently not on this forum.

Surely this is unlikely to be viewed as a very liveable neighbourhood for these particular groups - if you were older and had $1.5 million+ to spend on an apartment, townhouse or house, would you buy in this location ... or somewhere a little quieter and a little more hip, with better neighbourhood amenity, street life and human scale?

Plenty of wealthy leafy eastern suburbs empty nesters are moving to the inner north and inner east, seeking the amenity of local strip shopping, cafes, restaurants and urban street "buzz". What they don't seem to want is busy roads, intersections, lifeless streets, poor neighbourhood amenity in terms of lack of heritage, trees, quiet back streets and parks, fine grain shopping and dining and walkability.

What evidence do you think there is to the contrary?

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vicmic's picture

"negative" - is that you Oprah? If not, spare us the cheap psychology. Bilby's contribution in this episode, among their other contributions, are a healthy antedote to the reflex boosterism that dominates this website. Excitement over quantity regardless of quality. Surely there is scope to question the priorities and politics of the real estate industry and the Property Council that have been well demonstrated by the recent media discussion on negative gearing. Militant self interest parading as public good. Let's hope the voting population see through the propaganda (obviously not the Murdoch readers, they are a lost cause)


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Ben Mic's picture

More <55m square dog boxes, just what this city needs.

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theboynoodle's picture

I'm with Bilby on this point, for sure. I don't get why people would choose to live here when they can get (in my view) so much better.

But.. let's attempt to find pull-factors..

1. Southbank is effectively CBD. So if that's where your life is based (social and professional) then it's on your doorstep as opposed to being a step removed (aka a tram/train hop away).

2. These new large developments are increasingly aiming to provide a very 'contained' experience - with leisure and other services within the building. Some people are happy with that. It's easy and convenient. They don't consider that they are 'missing out' by not having a neighborhood further away than an elevator ride.

3. People are attracted to things that are new and shiny, so buying something brand new is attractive. Availability of brand-new apartments is greater in areas like this and nobody is going to give permission to build this thing in Prahran (et al).

4. This is kind of an amalgamation of things already noted, but if people are looking at buying a 'city pad' to compliment a main residence elsewhere, then Southbank is perfect and amenity requirements are very different from us poor one-home dwellers.

5. Compared to many other places around the world, Melbourne's patchwork of little suburbs with their old-style shopping strips and mismatch of dwelling types is unusual. People unfamiliar with it just might well just consider those options. They might look at the faded-glamour, rows of terrace, and big corporation towers and say 'that's not city living'.

6. People who are used to living in the 'extended' city might well over-compensate when choosing to move to somewhere central.

7. Process wise, buying these places is straightforward. Elsewhere you're more likely to be on the secondary market and messing about with auctions etc. When I was looking for a place I did not develop any love for the buying process in this country.. I can see why people would prefer to buy a home the same way they buy a fridge.

So maybe people make the choice for good and well-thought-out reasons.. or maybe they make bad decisions which they come to regret (I think the things noted about fall into both camps).. but from a development point of view it doesn't matter because the buyer signs up and lives with the consequences... and I'm not aware of any glut on the secondary market that indicates they're all coming to regret it.

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Bilby's picture

Interesting points, but I still say that if this building ends up filled with families and empty-nesters, it will be surprising, to say the least.

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johnproctor's picture

Two points,

I'd compare this to yarras edge which does have a high percentage of owner occupier. Would I rather live at yarras edge or on queensbridge street? Queensbridge for sure and yet there is a proven market with 5+ towers down the road with almost no amenity but a river view.

Secondly the inner east/inner north empty nesters are looking for one experience, I'd suggest these empty nesters (and the yarras edge ones) are looking for a different experience - for them they are probably going to crown, Southbank, Vue de monde for dinner and Collins street boutiques, Myer, dj's to shop. Not looking for a local shopping strip with daily services and good local cafes and restaurants. It'd be intersteding to know the number of car parks proposed in the development. If it's low then the (very) affluent empty nesters I've described may not be so inclined to purchase.

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