The 'Unconquered Sun' of Southbank goes up for sale

The tower dubbed 'Sol Invictus' may not have been conquered, but it is for sale.

Long after the initial media blitz extolling the virtues of the tower, going hand in hand with an explanation of its name, the now approved 48 Moray Street has been handed to Colliers. The agent along with ICR Property Group have been tasked with securing a new owner for the 1,173.5sqm site, which was granted approval during July.

At stake is the right to develop 287 apartments and 5 levels of commercial space encompassing approximately 3,000sqm.

Initially submitted at 60 levels, the approved 51 level outcome spans 48 Moray Street and 11-13 Hancock Street; the latter 168sqm site was approved for a super thin residential tower of 33 levels, but those plans have been incorporated into the current scheme.

An earlier version of 48 Moray Street with significantly more street level flair. Image: Peddlr Thorp

David Lock Associates provided town planning for the project, and described it as follows:

The building itself is designed to be a landmark, and to set new benchmarks regarding ESD by way of cutting-edge mechanisms including architecturally-integrated solar panels that will offset a substantial portion of the development’s energy requirements.

Myriad public realm upgrades – including offsite pocket parks, freeway underpass upgrades and an architecturally designed pocket plaza - are also proposed as a means of repositioning Southbank as a high quality, enjoyable public destination.

‘The building has been designed to act as a landmark, and respond to its prominent location at the gateway to the City of Melbourne through the introduction of a distinct, curvilinear tower form within the existing urban morphology of Southbank. The building also ‘raises the bar’ within the local existing urban context through exemplary ground floor activation and public realm amenity.

Referencing the sun god of the Roman Empire, Sol Invictus was billed as Australia's "first substantially off-the-grid, green energy-generating residential tower." 

This was to be achieved by incorporating solar cells in the facade of the tower, thus allowing a greater area to capture the sun's rays. Rooftop wind turbines and a battery storage system were also envisaged in the initial design for the tower.

The approved version of 48 Moray Street rendered into Southbank. Image: Colliers

Design nuances aside, the sale of 42 Moray Street comes at an interesting time for the wider Southbank apartment development market.

A handful of major Southbank development sites have been listed and have subsequently languished, as prospective buyers have been difficult to secure. 127-129 Kavanagh Street and 38 Freshwater Place are the two most noteworthy examples, having approvals in place for a combined 1,000 plus apartments, and having been offered for sale for some months.

296-306 City Road and 292 City Road have suffered the same fate; they are though non permitted sites.

58 Southbank Boulevard shapes as the current exception to the sluggish Southbank market. With its sales campaign closed, no word has yet filtered through on the site's fate.

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