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CBD | 130-150 Lonsdale Street | Wesley Place | 33 & 22L | 144m & 80m | Commercial

Mark Baljak's picture

All images courtesy Cox Architecture and AECOM

demo plan

early podium design







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Peter Maltezos's picture

Postcards of the Princess Mary Club that's going to be demolished, in its heyday.


I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au
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Rohan Storey's picture

OK, the tower is quite striking, but rather dominates its context ! Putting aside demolition of the Princess Mary Club, the tower is extremely dominant . much more than any previous proposal ! its a huge rectangle, with little setback from Lonsdale Street, some ins and outs supposedly to allow views of the church, but really just show how dominant it is, and then it flys close over the top of the poor little manse, which will be lost in the darkness of the underbelly. Dont mind the height, but greater setbacks from street and church please, and maybe just move the manse to the back (or the front) of the site ! if only they could build an apartment tower instead, then it could be nice and tall and thin and set way back.


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Riddlz's picture

1 extra floor

31/07/2015 Amendment to Application: Application to seeks increase setbacks to Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale Street for the tower element of the building, a small increase in the setback along Jones Lane, creating greater space around the Manse, updates to the podium design, including improving the resolution of the Jones Lane interface and [B]the addition of one level to compensate for some of the floor area lost due to the increased setbacks


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Riddlz's picture

New height of 148m and supported by COM planners


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Rohan Storey's picture

If the design has been altered with greater setbacks here and there, it doesnt seem to have changed the appearance at all !
The tower should be set way back behind the church spire, or angle away from it instead of towards it !
And building over the manse is still silly - better to move it to the front of the site, and have a rectangular tower behind it....


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Bilby's picture

One of the most destructive urban developments this city has seen in recent years. Heritage Victoria has badly let all Victorians down by approving this - and now council is powerless to object on heritage grounds. What a mess.

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Riddlz's picture


The club that saved Melbourne's women from prostitution

It was a safe home for women for decades – and began as a sanctuary from sin – but the Princess Mary Club may very soon be mourned.

The rare neo-Gothic building in Lonsdale Street – that was left to rot for 20 years – is set for demolition, its significance to women's history and culture of Melbourne likely to be lost.

Joy Damousi, a professor of history at the University of Melbourne, says the club's function as a place of sanctuary for young country women – who started coming into Melbourne in large numbers to find work in the 1920s – isn't "too dissimilar" from that of the Windsor Hotel, where the sons of the squattocracy were housed when doing business in town.

"We'd be more outraged if we were to demolish the Windsor," Damousi says. "But with icons to male activity, there isn't as much acceptance for them to be torn down. The Princess Mary Club hasn't been given the significance it deserves."


Last month the City of Melbourne approved the demolition of the club, and some neighbouring buildings. Heritage Victoria has issued a demolition permit. And the state government has approved the building of a 34-storey tower on the site. The Uniting Church, owner of the Princess Mary Club, has said it is relying on the project's go-ahead to fund a badly needed restoration of the Wesley Church.


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Mark Baljak's picture

Victoria ticks $450m Leighton Properties-Uniting Church Lonsdale St project

A 34-level commercial tower on Melbourne's Lonsdale Street can go ahead after Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne gave it the nod.

The $450-million Wesley Upper Lonsdale Street project, a joint venture between Leighton Properties and the Uniting Church on church-owned land, will have to increase its setbacks from Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets, and a 10-metre separation and screening will be required to limit its effect on the neighbouring Regency tower.

The design has been modified to reduce overshadowing of Cohen Place, a public area. The tower will sit on the eastern portion of the Wesley Church site with frontages to Lonsdale Street, Little Lonsdale Street and Jones Lane. A Heritage Permit has been granted for demolition of some of the buildings on the site, including the derelict Princess Mary Club, built in 1926.

"It was important that this development responded to the significant heritage buildings on site and a balance has been achieved that protects the church while providing certainty about maintenance of the site," Mr Wynne said. "It's a shame we're losing the Princess Mary Club, but this is a good outcome for the site long term."

Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/victoria-ticks-450m-leighton-propertiesun...

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3000's picture

It's a shame to loose it.

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Adrian's picture

Disgusting Wynne approves demolition of this.

Meanwhile there was article in age today about 10 new buildings receiving heritage protection including the shitty little 7 eleven on corner of Elizabeth and Franklin ... Unfathomable

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Michael Berquez's picture

I am not happy about this. Ridiculous and insulting.

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Mark Baljak's picture

Charter Hall eyes a hectare of opportunity in Melbourne CBD

Listed fund manager Charter Hall now controls a one-hectare island site in Melbourne's CBD, including approval for a $500 million office development on church-owned land.

With planning approval of the 130 Lonsdale Street development now in hand, Charter Hall can broaden its thinking about a large slice of the city's north-east precinct.

Through its Core Plus Office Fund (CPOF), the fund manager took over the 130 Lonsdale Street site late last year from Leighton Properties, which already had a planning application in play.

What it acquired was the 125-year leasehold on church land, next to a group of properties held by the Uniting Church, including the Wesley Church, the manse, schoolhouse and caretaker's cottage, all historic buildings in the neo-gothic style.

Importantly, the diversified investor already controls a 1970s era office building and carpark next door at 150 Lonsdale Street, which represent a future development prospect.

The two large sites are bounded by streets at their front and rear and by laneways on each side, making it one of the largest island sites controlled by a single developer in the CBD.

"Controlling over a hectare of land as an island provides Charter Hall with long-term strategic opportunities," said Andrew Borger, Charter Hall's head of office development .

The development approval at 130 Lonsdale Street - the site will be known as Wesley Place - will result in an A-Grade tower with 53,000 square metres of office space across 33 floors.

With the church to take up 5000 square metres within the new project, Charter Hall is now on the hunt for more pre-commitments.

Mr Borger is confident those tenants can be locked in this year, allowing construction to get underway next year.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/charter-hall-eyes-a-hectare-of-opportunit...

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Bilby's picture

^ Adrian, the demolition of the Princess Mary Club is reprehensible, but the protection of other 20th Century heritage buildings in the city is not as "unfathomable" as it might first appear. Reading the heritage citations first gives a better overview - plus there are some good photos in the C186 amendment that show the buildings as they were when constructed. Often heritage buildings need a bit of restoration to bring them back to their former appearance, and the 7-11 (i.e. 1950s ES&A bank) at 467 Elizabeth Street is a perfect example. 1950s architecture from the Olympic Games era is now incredibly rare in the CBD, and marks an important aesthetic and cultural moment in time in the city's history:

"Statement of Significance
What is significant?
This Commonwealth Banking Corporation Elizabeth Street North branch was opened on 12 Nov 1956 just in time for the Melbourne Olympic Games. The architect was the CBA Bank Architect F J Crocker, Architect- In- Charge Bank Section – Department of Works, having prepared the plans in 3 Nov 1955. The contactor was E A Watts Pty Ltd. The building replaced the old two- storey Sir Walter Scott Hotel (463 Elizabeth Street), then part of a strong Victorian-era precinct. The finished result was photographed by RAIA (Vic) secretary Peter Wille to add to the institute's collection.
When completed the new bank had a distinctive buttressed skillion form with the battered

Elizabeth Street façade reminiscent of the angled walls of the McIntyre Stargazer House, North
Balwyn, of the same period. This boldly facetted façade abutted a sturdy vertical pier on the north
side. 43.01136.

The side upper level was clad with a freestone tile, each corner pinned to the wall by polished
metal decals, while on the Elizabeth Street elevation, mosaic tiles were used below the
awning highlight windows. The company name was attached to the upper level discreetly in the form of individual metal letters.

Inside, an elegant open stair with metal balustrading floating concrete treads, ascended to the upper level. The banking chamber was ceiling was also angled, aligned with the underside of the skillion main roof. The overall effect was very modern, casting aside the conservatism of inter- war banking architecture. The significant but altered Chancellor & Patrick design on the opposite corner was two years after this pioneering concept and took a different branch of the Modern style.
Since it was constructed the bank's side street glazing and upper level tile and stone facing (Franklin St) have all been painted over, the highlight windows covered with metal grille, together making for a major if easily reversible visual change in character. Part of the ground floor shopfront has been changed, engaging the rear of the angled façade buttresses. Visually unelated illuminated signs have been added.

Contributory elements or fabric from the creation date or significant period should be conserved and enhanced as in the objectives of clause 43.01.

How is it significant? This building has been assessed for potential
This Commonwealth Banking Corporation of Australia branch bank is significant aesthetically to the Melbourne Capital City Zone.

Why is it significant?
Although superficially altered, this Commonwealth
Banking Corporation of Australia branch bank is
aesthetically significant for its innovatory design in The following sources and data were used for this a an architectural field that had been dominated assessment:
by conservative design during the inter-war period. It was only one of only two banks erected General sources in the Capital City Zone after the Second War."

https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/c186-central-ci... (link is external)

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Michael Berquez's picture

Really? An ugly old bank building from 1956???
Bilby, surely a line has to be drawn somewhere? We can't just restore and hold onto every single building built before 1970.

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Bilby's picture

Are you saying we can hold onto every building before 1970 in the CBD, or ANY building before 1970? There is a big difference between those two statements. Then have a go at answering the question: "How many examples of 1950s buildings exist in the CBD"? ...

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3000's picture

He is saying that just because the building is old does not make it worth saving by default. There are many built in the 70's and earlier that we could get rid of and no one would even miss (yes bilby, even you).
Total House? Worth saving, if it was scrubbed up it would look fantastic again. This Commonwealth building? Sorry, not seeing it. Kind of unique in the way it tapers but it's nothing that special. I'm sure you and other will disagree but hey, thats the internet for you.

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Bilby's picture

Ok, I'll ask it again. Should we offer protection to ANY 1950s buildings in the CBD? If so, which ones? Presumably those judged to be significant by the criteria set out in the heritage council guidelines. This building fulfils those criteria - end of story. Heritage assessment is not about whether any particular individual or group "likes" a style or particular building, but rather whether that building or place has heritage significance. The fact that you are "not seeing it" with regard to the ES&A bank on Elizabeth Street is a non-argument for its not gaining heritage recognition, 3000. That's akin to saying Uluru has no spiritual significance because it doesn't look like a church.

A 1950s modernist bank building with freestone cladding doesn't look like a Victorian bank - does that mean it is worthless in a heritage sense? I doubt it. If anything, we could say that there are dozens of good examples of Victorian banks in the city, but only a precious few 1950s examples (can anyone think of others)? So, this building is all the more important for what it represents in the city's history of architectural development.

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Michael Berquez's picture

I can't imagine any tourist or even any local Melburnian making a pilgrimage to this corner to marvel at the architectural wonders of this ugly building. Do you? It's a steaming pile of ugliness that 95% of the opoulation don't even know exists. So going on from what Adrian said, how can this building be protected and not the one being demolished for this new tower? Again, the planning/protection rules are flawed and screwed up, they don't make any sense and the sooner they are re-evaluated, the better.
But Bilby, I get the very clear impression that you will just NEVER be entirely happy with ANYTHING.....so it's over and out for me. Best of luck.

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SYmlb's picture

I'm usually happy to see most buildings added for heritage protection in general, but I do agree this is not that worthy and would personally rather see the site developed. A 7-11 is the best they can do with that site, and it really is not that unique or interesting, it is mediocre at best. Just my opinion but I think there are better examples of what should be retained for protection and this is rather low on that list.

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Bilby's picture

These are mere opinions based on personal preference. Unless you can actually reference something of deeper significance than "just my opinion" or "it's not worthy" or "tourists won't like it", or it is "mediocre at best" (compared to what?) then we are really talking about you - not Melbourne's architectural heritage.

Also, don't forget that the Princess Mary Club does have heritage protection - at the highest level - hence why Heritage Victoria were the responsible body in issuing a heritage permit for demolition: https://melbourneheritage.org.au/2015/11/18/heritage-victoria-grants-per...

So, it's hard to argue that any harm can come from listing the 1956 ES&A bank - all that would be required to develop the site is a heritage appropriate permit, after all.

In fact, it could be argued that the real reason that the Princess Mary Club is being demolished is precisely because of attitudes like the ones you have all just promoted on the forum - because the building was "not worthy" and "mediocre" compared with "more important" and older heritage buildings, it warrants demolition. Read: women's history in Melbourne is of less value than men's, 1920s architecture is of less value than equivalent 19th Century architecture, economic considerations are more important than cultural considerations, and the building generally doesn't fit with dominant narratives of CBD heritage (it's on church land, but not exactly a religious building).

So, you say a dynamic little modernist mid-century gem is "not that worthy" ... presumably the hidden premise here is compared with larger, grander, older Melbourne buildings that the majority recognise as being important to Melbourne. But if the "majority view" or whether tourists will be drawn to it, was a criterion for heritage protection, very few buildings would be listed at all. Certainly no aboriginal heritage would remain, nor any building of significance for non-mainstream groups, including women's and gay history, nor would interesting side notes in the city's dominant civic and mercantile narrative be preserved (e.g. Freethought Hall on Victoria Pde. Fitzroy comes to mind). In fact, all that would remain would be a representation of Melbourne's historically white, male powerful interests.

So, whose heritage and what kind of heritage do we "save"? Well, if heritage means anything, it means the heritage of the whole city - not just the select bits that particular groups "like". I choose to represent a broader interpretation of heritage than just my own narrow white, male, middle class purvey. You chose to represent your own personal preferences and call them "worthy", while anything at odds with your preference is "unworthy". You see a recognition of variety in heritage styles and eras as a watering down of the city's heritage standards - I see it as a richer representation of our shared culture. SYMLB, you say a 7-11 "is the best they can do" with the site - I say you lack vision. With an attitude of promoting adaptive reuse of the city's heritage, the future possibilities for a small, character filled heritage building in a prime Vic Market precinct location are almost endless.

So, here's that heritage citation again - perhaps read it and get back to me, but spare me the uninformed - and therefore next to worthless - opinions about its heritage value:


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Michael Berquez's picture

broken record....broken record.....borken record.
I will do my best to spare you my opnion if you do the same for me. Fair deal?

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3000's picture

Bilby I agree with you on protecting our heritage, really. But as we've all said so many times, the current laws are inadequate and it's starting to show in various parts of Melbourne. Look at Southbank and some parts of the North end. But the criteria used to guage what's worth keeping is vague at best. We can't simply say "it's old, keep it". Personally, the CBank building is nothing special compared to what we have lost and are in danger of losing.

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Bilby's picture

Again, the qualifier, "personally" weakens your argument to the point of impotence. Heritage has nothing to do with what you personally feel about a place. Heritage is much broader than that - that's why it comes under the broader category of culture - not subjective opinion. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of neo-gothic churches - does that mean they shouldn't be heritage listed? No. I accept that they have an important and meaningful place in the heritage of the city and our culture more generally.

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SYmlb's picture

I was going to write a long and meaningful reply, but to be honest Bilby, I know it isn't worth the effort so I am just going to be honest. Having an opinion is one thing, we are all entitled to one, but I feel like no matter what I say, it will be taken out of context and misconstrued and twisted to suit your own agenda, ala what you just done there.

That is not a meaningful discussion, it is tiring to be honest.

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Melbourne_Fragments's picture

Your wrong that no Melbournians are interested in that 1950s bank, there is a large community of modernist lovers who see intrinsic and aesthetic value in its design. this style of architecture actually does invite specialized tourists to our city

Though thats totally irrelvant anyway, Bibly has provided a detailed and intellectual heritage statement made by the architectural historian recommending its now heritage listing, this nuanced and peer reviewed statement DOES hold much more weight than anyones personal aethetic 'opinions'

We are not all 'entitled' to an opinion. If your opinion on matters like this is made with zero context, research or logical and intellectual reasoning, it's practically worthless

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