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3000's picture

Boynoodle: excellent post.
I know I've mentioned Vision before but if the future of Melbourne is to be towers like Vision or certain CE developments then you can count me out. 568 Collins is nice design and street level wise but as you said, the apartments are some of the worst I've seen. Same for Vision and even MY80 which feature weird layouts.

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SYmlb's picture

I suppose you could argue most things in life are generally pretty 'crap' in terms of design versus the best of their field;

Most houses are pretty crap
Most cars are pretty crap
Most movies are pretty crap
Most songs are pretty crap

Like I said earlier, expecting every highrise to be a masterpiece is akin to expecting every car to be a Mercedes Benz, movie to be an Academy Award winner, painting to be a Mona Lisa...

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3000's picture

Not everything has to be one but crap consumer goods come and go. Crap apartment towers are here for a long time and in much greater prominence

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Bilby's picture

So, you're ok with building a crap city then, Symlb?

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3000's picture

Come on, you know that's not what he meant. But the general consensus here is that we can do a lot better.

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SYmlb's picture

Yes we should have a crap city, maybe then you would actually appreciate the true quality that this place really has to offer.

But alas, point missed and/or ignored. Not going to beat a dead horse here.

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theboynoodle's picture


You are right that not every building can be a masterpiece. Indeed, it's even tougher in a sense because unlike, say, a great car, it's not easy to find a winning large and mass produce it.. not only are sites all different, people don't want that.

But your comparisons fail because a building is a monopoly on it's location. The limiting factor in urban settings is location.. there's only one of every site and there aren't enough sites to give everyone what they want which, in this country, is probably a large character house, with pool and garden, within 20 minutes of Southern Cross Station.

When heritage concerns come into it, and let's look at that from the perspective of preserving a textured streetscape and environment.. not the preservation of historically/architecturally significant sites.. the comparisons fail even more... you can make a new movie without erasing Shawshank, a new album without wiping Sgt Pepper from the airwaves, and you can manufacture a million great cars without scrapping one single vintage Jaguar. If you build something you destroy what was built before, so you owe a greater duty to do something decent.

If every Holden Plainwagon necessitated the scrapping of an E-Type then you can bet yr ass there'd be a lot of people asking whether the world really needed all those Holdens.

Not every building can be a visual extravaganza. But every building can have well configured spaces, and every building can address it's location, and every building can have street levels that don't exude hatred to the street itself. Every building can be constructed with materials and finishes that stand half a chance of lasting as long as the foundations will.

Having said all this, and as critical as we can be of a lot of modern high-rise, I do sometimes look at the love now bestowed upon buildings from older eras that were as derided, at times, as much as any CE tower is these days. London is full of them. Undoubtedly, some of the buildings we hate today will be loved in the future.. as ludicrous as it may seem to ponder whether Vision or Empire will one day be as revered as Trellick Tower is today. Humans are pretty adaptable and as the need arises we will take some of these buildings and spaces and turn them into something great.. in conjunction with, or in spite of, the architecture. Or if they truly do fail, we will pull them down. It's easy to easy to think that we should have learned all the lessons by now and so everything that seems awful today is a definite mistake.. but every generation thinks that.

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SYmlb's picture

BoyNoodle: I do agree with you mostly, the major variance I have is calling most high-rise 'crap' which is simply not fair and what my original point was based on. We need to be realistic here. Money is a limiting factor here and as much as I would like every highrise to be of the same standard as <insert best example possible here>, the reality is, every apartment is priced to what the market will pay for it.

But absolutely agree better STANDARDS would be greatly welcome, but I don't expect the best outcome possible for every highrise, especially when the majority are purchased off the plan by international buyers. We need to be realistic and the market will pay what is fair for each development.

No more on this from me though, I apologise for derailing this thread on One Queensbridge.

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Mark Baljak's picture

Half-rate: Melbourne City Council slams public benefit from new Crown tower

Crown Resorts will provide little more than half the $125 million public benefit required by the overdevelopment of its new apartment and hotel complex in Melbourne's Southbank, according to a scathing city council report.

The state government approved casino mogul James Packer's $1.7 billion proposal hotel last month after deeming it to be of state significance and exempting from normal planning rules for its site.

The 90-storey Southbank tower, a joint venture with Schiavello Group, includes a six-star, 388-room hotel and 708 residential apartments on Queensbridge Street.

Melbourne's tallest

Rising 323 metres, it will be Melbourne's tallest building. A pedestrian bridge over the Queens Bridge Street will link it to the casino.

The Melbourne City Council report, released on Thursday, reveals in damning detail how the ambitious project flouts normal planning restraints and sets out the financial returns the state can expect.

The scale of the project is more than three times greater than planning rules allow for the Queensbridge Street site.

Under a formula introduced last year by Planning Minister Richard Wynne, developers can match the extent of their overdevelopment, if it is approved, with a public benefits program.

City hall's planners calculate the matching benefit for the Crown proposal to be worth $125 million.

The benefits package provided by Crown Resorts – a series of public space upgrades in the riverbank precinct around the casino and the new tower – is worth only $65 million.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/council-slams-public-return-from-new-crow...

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db2's picture

Oh poor babies! Waste of time report.

Back to reality; when will this beast start? I predict demolition on site this October, we shall see.

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Bilby's picture

A "waste of time" for whom, DB2? Crown or the people of Victoria who stand to lose the $60 million in public benefits that they are entitled to under the planning scheme?

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Adrian's picture

In other words they don't recognise the free public viewing deck (which looks mindblowing) as a public benefit ..

Would you rather the site stay dormant and no public benefit contribution at all Bilby ?

If they forced them to chop the tower in half guarantee the contribution to the public realm would be similarly cut in half .. like to see the City Council spend $65m improving a public area - HELLO Bourke St Mall ?

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SYmlb's picture

Why do they not include the public viewing deck as part of the community benefit? Surely that qualifies as it is public access and will undeniably become Melbourne's next major observation viewing area.

Not sure how they classify it otherwise. And Crown will build and maintain it themselves versus the public roadwork improvements and Queensbridge upgrades which will be passed on for the taxpayer to maintain after completion. This seems like clutching at straws to find reasons to criticize this project.

Besides, who was the last developer to commit $60m in public upgrades anyway? I'd like to see Central Equity, Brady or anyone else contribute that to the public benefit. And then we complain about a lack of quality buildings in this city and a genuinely excellent project comes along and it is nit-picked and complained about. It's just never good enough.

Very petty journalism at best.

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Chris Seals's picture

Right on SYMLB, could not have said it better.

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3000's picture

And yet no one is actually looking at all the damage that has been done from CE and Brady over the decade in Southbank.
Yes, Crown should fix up the area, to say that it's currently inviting is insulting. But what about those who plonk up one investor box after another without thought as to what the long-term harm may be?
They seem to be off the hook here and it's not fair.

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db2's picture


A "waste of time" for whom, DB2? Crown or the people of Victoria who stand to lose the $60 million in public benefits that they are entitled to under the planning scheme?

A complete waste of rate-payers money.
A waste of time because the report is entirely irrelevant.

From initial announcement in Oct 2015, this was a project of state significance (size, scope, cost).
The MCC was entirely out of the loop; hence why waste time and resources on something you are not a party too?

Priorities. MCC should be doing a better job on selling their failing Victoria Market project instead of wasting time/money/resources on this project that has already been approved.

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Primal Beauty's picture

I assume City of Melbourne is using this case as a leverage and reminder of how One Queensbridge was approved as a state significant project, so to argue that Queen Victoria Market apartments should also be approved for the same reason providing they comply with all the rules of planning apart from percieved excessive height by the state government...politics at work...market project will be approved I suspect also...wether lord mayor would have to bend over, in regards to this issue, is left to be seen!

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

The people of Victoria were not entitled to ANY public benefit under the planning scheme as the application was submitted in 2013.
The COM report left out this key section of the planning controls:

an application (including an application to amend the permit) made before the
commencement of Amendment C262 to this planning scheme. For such applications,
the requirements of this scheme, as they were in force immediately before the
commencement of Amendment C262, continue to apply.

So they did not have to provide one cent of public benefit but the government has managed to get a contribution of at least $65 million.

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Primal Beauty's picture

Nicholas Harrison...I must be going blind from being tired as I misread the word contribution in your last sentence as a contrition of at least 65 million dollars...lol...automatically I thought how appropriate that some people consider governments to equate to organized religion and as such their power to 'induce' remorse and contrition in the form of financal penalty as such in this case...but when I went back to the text I was almost disappointed to find the word contribution instead...sorry for my ramblings!

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Bilby's picture

So, we're arguing that Crown is donating $65 million for free to Victoria when it is not required to? Do any of you really believe that?

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SYmlb's picture

^ Nope.

But it costs the taxpayer nothing. And a private developer commits $65m that would otherwise have been spent by the CoM and/or State Government (read: taxpayer) to fix up local roads, Queensbridge, Sandridge and improve the local community. And in return we get a development that is world class, employs thousands during and after construction, creates a new landmark and brings in more revenue via taxation, tourism and employment (read: more taxpayer money.)

I would find their report more honest and unbiased if they could pinpoint to me when they have ever had a developer, on their watch, commit to $65m of public benefits in return for a major project such as this? That's right, they can't. Instead the best they can do is complain that Crown is only spending $65m. How petty.

That's what the CoM should focus on instead of things that are clearly not only out of their jurisdiction, but clearly shows their ignorance on these issues and their incompetence and lack of basic understanding of such issues. And quite frankly, they sound like they have sour grapes over it. They are not the ones to make the call on this, and nor should they be. This is a project of state significance that goes beyond their abilities and they should stick to local issues, ie. fixing roads and public amenities, which Crown is fixing for them at no cost to anyone else.

If CoM had a problem with the $65m being spent, maybe they should fund these upgrades themselves and their report would be moot?

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Bilby's picture

Could it not be argued that Crown more generally costs Melbourne more than it contributes, in terms of significantly increased rates of crime in Southbank, unsafe streets at certain times of the day, and significant societal effects from problem gambling? If true, $65 million in public contributions wouldn't even begin to cover that.

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pdoff's picture

Yes it could but then the contribution would need to be increased by an order of magnitude. Let's keep our feet on the ground here, we're not going to compensate decades of societal woes in one deal.

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db2's picture

Could it not be argued that Crown more generally costs Melbourne more than it contributes, in terms of significantly increased rates of crime in Southbank

The old QBT hotel was the worst, most dangerous and notorious hotstop for alcohol fuelled violence in all of Melbourne. I know of at least one death outside the QBT hotel duel to alcohol violence.

By shutting it down and turning it into a world class apartment/hotel development Crown/Schiavello are making Southbank and all of Melbourne safer, less crime, not more.

Note, One Queensbridge will have no gambling or gaming components, nada, zip, nil.

You argument Bilby is totally specious; you are arguing against Crown casino; this thread relates to One Queensbridge, I suggest you stay on topic. They are two different properties.

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SYmlb's picture

^ Agreed. This seems like a personal vendetta against Crown moreso than anything. I am yet to see anyone else bring to the table any other developer that is required to submit only $65m in public contributions? Yet other developers seem to have no expectations (eg. Brady, CE) and no-one writes about that? This all points to a witch hunt and this is being used as an excuse to oppose an excellent project.

We all want better designs, better public amenities and overall a better city. This ticks all the right boxes, including the publicly available, free access observation area, that will not cost anyone a cent.

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