Southbank's green spine gets Melbourne planning approvals

Staff reporterApril 23, 20200 min read

With unanimous support from the City of Melbourne's Future Melbourne Committee in March, the Victorian State Government has officially given the green light to the $2 billion Southbank by Beulah project. 

The 270,000 sqm mixed-use vertical village is considered one of Melbourne's most ambitious and forward-thinking projects to date.

Led by award-winning Melbourne developer, Beulah, the announcement is a welcome relief amid current economic uncertainty, with the project set to generate more than 4,700 construction jobs via the provision of a $1 billion additional investment stimulus to the Melbourne construction market. 

Upon complete of the. build, 3,250 new ongoing direct jobs is expected to be generated across multiple industries including office, retail, entertainment, hospitality and child care, ultimately growing the working population of Southbank by eight per cent. 

On track to become Australia's talent tower at 365 metres high, approval from the Minister for Planning, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp said, "This is a huge vote of confidence in our city at a time when we are going through a period of economic uncertainty."

Conceptualised alongside acclaimed Dutch firm, UNStudio, and local firm, Cox Architecture, the permit will now allow Beulah to officially transform the current BMW site into an unprecedented, world-class vertical village spanning a total of 270,000 sqm. 

Cox Architecture director Philip Rowe said, "Southbank has laid somewhat dormant for many years. Our collaborative concept has the ability to truly uncover its potential, improving the urban amenity while seamlessly unifying the suburb with Melbourne's CBD. 

"The architectural and cultural impact Southbank by Beulah will leave on Melbourne is an exciting prospect and will undoubtedly set a benchmark both locally and globally, both now and well into the future."

An extensive process to date - including the initial Southbank by Beulah global architecture competition - Beulah managing director, Jiaheng Chan said the project team has been overwhelmed by the support from the official government bodies. 

“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to both the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne for their endorsement of Southbank by Beulah, which we hope will play a significant role in Melbourne’s economic recovery over the coming years.

Southbank by Beulah​ will transform the way Melburnians work, live, learn, revitalise and play — it will set a global benchmark for an unprecedented lifestyle hub that caters to present and future generations and will assist in the future growth of Melbourne and its vision to become a truly global smart city.

“Discussions have already begun with leading global brands in the hospitality, retail and cultural sectors who are looking for a transformative project of this calibre.”

Lodged in August 2019, the approved application outlines plans to offer users an unprecedented connectedness to nature within an urban environment.

"It's not just about the height", said Nicholas Reece, the chair of the City of Melbourne's Planning Portfolio, "so much thought and effort has gone into the design and the green space."

Envisioned as a vertical mini-metropolis, ​Southbank by Beulah​ will comprise four distinct collections of private residences, public and green spaces, rooftop sky garden, town hall, commercial offices, a five-star urban resort, childcare centre, a health and wellness precinct, arts and culture spaces and programs, as well as world-class experiential retail, all within two twisting terraced forms.

The spine twists into a series of outdoor spaces and green devices along the façades of the two towers, paying homage to Melbourne’s title of The Garden City, symbolically bridging the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens with Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.

Pocket parks will be a focal point throughout the building, connecting neighbourhoods within the residential tower, providing residents with a sense of community and a place to relax, before culminating in a landscaped journey to the publicly accessible rooftop sky garden.

Construction is forecast to commence next year and will take approximately five years to complete.

Staff reporter

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