Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD

Laurence DragomirMay 30, 20170 min read

Once derided as the derriere of Melbourne's CBD, the west end is undergoing a marked revival with a slew of residential projects about to begin. This revival largely can also be attributed to the ongoing development of Docklands and the redevelopment of what is now Southern Cross Station, with the resultant epicentre of Melbourne's CBD slowly shifting to the area around King and Spencer Streets. 

A snapshot of some of the largest of these projects which will transform the face of Melbourne from a westerly aspect can be seen below;

555 Collins Street

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
555 Collins Street. Images: Bates Smart

One of the latest projects to hit the market following a colourful history at planning. Once the site of the beautifully crafted Federal Coffee Palace, 555 Collins Street currently stands as the empty concrete edifice dubbed Enterprise House.

Initially seeking planning exemption for a commercial building of 400m, owner Harry Stamoulis sold the site to Fragrance group who tried for a 90-storey, 300m tower designed by Bates Smart. That was reassessed following backlash during the planning process and was eventually replaced with a 47-storey pleated tower rising from a tapering base.

624 apartments constitute the tower.

555 Collins Street will provide a dynamic and elegant residential tower regenerating a prominent, but neglected corner site within Melbourne’s CBD. The tower form is distinguished by a unique tapered podium which allows for the creation of an increased public realm and generous retail precinct.

The tapered base also means daylight can filter into the internal spaces, while at night, light will illuminate the surrounding precinct. A continuous pedestrian loop will link the development with the adjacent building, expanding public amenity and creating a contemporary addition to Melbourne’s collection of laneways.

- Bates Smart

555 Collins Street is currently at sales and registrations.

West Side Place

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
The Gold Residences at West Side Place. Image: Far East Consortium

Stage 1 of West Side Place comprising two 200m + towers including a Ritz-Carlton hotel, and is set to commence construction in coming months following a successful sales campaign, with few apartments remaining. Developer Far East Consortium is now pushing ahead with the next stage - The Gold Release Residences - set for launch on June 3rd via Colliers.

Rising 72-storeys for an approximate height of 245m, the Gold Release will sit to the east of the Ritz Carlton with a laneway separating the two towers and frontage along Lonsdale Street. A fourth and final tower of 69-storeys and approximately 235m high will complete Far East's regeneration of two city blocks, which it began with its Upper West Side development on the site of the former Lonsdale Street power station.

The Gold Release is the newest stage within the Ritz-Carlton precinct offering one and two bedroom residences up to level 70 and featuring expansive views across Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne’s city skyline and beyond. The Gold Release represents sophistication, elegance, value, quality and status. Everything that is synonymous with West Side Place and the Ritz-Carlton.

Designed to maximise natural light, residences are available right up to the clouds at level 70, across the following three offerings of Sky Residences, Central Residences, and Garden Residences.

- Far East Consortium

Premier Tower

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
Premier Tower construction progress. Photo: redden

Premier Tower replaces the old Savoy Hotel on one of Melbourne's more prominent corners. The site is now at piling following initial demolition and excavations, with the result a 249m tower and 600 plus apartments.

Fragrance Group are behind the Elenberg Fraser-designed tower, with Multiplex the head contractor.

We know you’ll agree that when you hear the phrase ‘less is more’ the first person that springs to mind is Beyoncé. No? Well – our new mixed-use building 134 Spencer Street provides the link between the two. At once a building that is the essence of first principles design – created entirely by parametric modelling – meanwhile its spiralling curves recall the twists and turns of a woman dancing in black cloth.

The deceptively complex form is the result of our research into wind, solar and massing criteria – the form is the best possible solution to all of those requirements. On top of that – we’ve taken the heritage surrounds into account, stepping down from the podium to meet them at eye level. This building is just another step in the westerly shift of the CBD.

- Elenberg Fraser

299 King Street

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
299 King Street and surrounds. Image:CBRE

Initially receiving approval for a height of 208m - down from the initial proposal of 83-storeys and 269m - owners Farinia on sold the site with approval for a residential scheme by Plus Architecture to Aurumstone Group. Aurumstone has since engaged Elenberg Fraser to rework the scheme in readiness for a imminent sales campaign.

Gone is the pearlescent façade which would produce a pink, bluish, purple effect depending on how light was cast over the tower. Likewise the tower's form has been rationalised with curvaceous lines and a bulge in form toward its peak.

Collins House

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
Collins House construction progress. Photo: redden

Hickory is progressing construction works on the narrow site of what will eventually become Australia's slimmest tower, containing 267 dwellings. To deliver Golden Age's 60-storey residential tower and to deal with the site's small footprint, Hickory will be employing its innovative HBS construction method

The project will be serviced by a single tower crane, with major elements including façade and floors fabricated off-site and rapidly assembled on arrival at Collins Street. As such Hickory anticipates the overall construction programme on the Bates Smart designed tower will be reduced by up to 30%.

The 60 level Collins House project incorporates the grand heritage façade of Melbourne’s historic Maker’s Mark building with a sleek contemporary tower.  Located on a small site footprint in central Melbourne, Hickory’s construction method for the project incorporates our own volumetric structural system, allowing building componentry to be erected more efficiently than a conventional formwork approach would have allowed.

Once complete, the 204-metre project will boast 271 luxury apartments ranging from two and three bedrooms to double storey loft apartments over a single basement level.  Communal facilities for residents include Collins Terrace on Level 3, a private indoor / outdoor space with private dining and gourmet kitchen and the St James Club on Level 27, a private club space with fitness facilities, outdoor deck, dining room and bar.

- Hickory

600 Collins Street

Apartments galore set to breathe new life into the western CBD
600 Collins Street base and plaza. Image: ZHA

Developer Landream has applied to amend the approved plans to include a six star hotel in the tower with a marketing campaign not too far off for the ZHA and Plus Architecture designed tower. The development distinguished by 3-stacked vases, will deliver a plaza to Collins Street and laneway to the west of the site activated with retail and a gallery space.

^00 Collins was approved with 420 apartments in place, although that final release will likely see this number change.

The design has been defined by Melbourne's rich and diverse urban landscape, reinterpreted in a contemporary solution driven by the logical division of its overall volume that will enhance the city's public realm with generous communal spaces. We are honoured to be working with our partners in Melbourne to deliver this project for the city.

- Michele Pasca di Magliano, Zaha Hadid Architects. 

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.
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