In recent weeks Lendlease signage has emerged across the site of Charter Hall's $600 million Wesley Place project at 130 Lonsdale Street. Ground works signify that official construction is underway on the premium grade office tower, post the completion of demolition.
According to the AFR, Charter Hall is pushing ahead with the development after securing pre-commitments within the 33-storey, COX Architecture-designed tower. Super funds Cbus and Telstra Super have elected to occupy the tower, as has investment services firm vanguard.
The commitments account for approximately 30,000sqm within the 55,000sqm tower.
Charter Hall will also accommodate the Uniting Church onsite as part of the original deal to develop the church-owned land via a 125-year leasehold deal. Signage onsite has the exceptionally wide tower which spans Lonsdale Street to Little Lonsdale Street aiming for a completion date during 2019.
130 Lonsdale Street forms Stage One of Wesley Place, as Charter Hall pushes a second tower through planning that will effectively bookend the massive site.
Earlier this week City of Melbourne's Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee was urged to provide conditional support to Wesley Place's second stage at 150 Lonsdale Street.
The site is located to the rear of an existing commercial 29-storey tower fronting Lonsdale Street, and is currently occupied by a multi-storey car park with dominant frontage to Little Lonsdale Street. The car park will be partially demolished to allow for construction of the 23-storey tower's core whilst the tower itself will sit atop the existing structure.
The proposal which has also been designed by COX Architecture presents in a similar architectural language to the first stage.
150 Lonsdale Street would rise to an overall height of 80m above street level and has a floor area ratio of 22.77:1, which exceeds the recommended 18:1 plot ratio. The proposed floor area uplift is supported by the delivery of commercial office space as the public benefit.
The design has changed from earlier renders which depicted a similar curving form to the larger tower. Now a more rectilinear built form has been employed with a series of glazed blocks bisected by rebates which appear as visual cues to crucifixes, providing a subtle reference to the site's history and custodians.
The City of Melbourne's Urban Design team raised a number of issues with the application, including retention of car parking above ground, location of services and activation of Hayward Lane, while ensuring "the architectural expression of the building presents a clear and integrated design intent, with an emphasis on the design and detail of the podium."
Acknowledging commerciality and timing of project, retention of the carpark impacts potential to contribute positive and active interfaces. While adaptive re-use in the city is generally supported, it’s recommended that the proposal excludes above ground parking and adapt the floorplates to other uses, or demolish the existing carpark.
- City of Melbourne's Urban Design Team
Approval from Planning Minister Richard Wynne would ultimately pave the way for the realisation of the full master plan for the site as illustrated below: