City of Melbourne unanimously endorses Southbank by Beulah planning application

City of Melbourne unanimously endorses Southbank by Beulah planning application
Alastair TaylorMarch 4, 2020

A major planning milestone was achieved last night when the City of Melbourne's Future Melbourne Committee unanimously backed the planning application for the Southbank by Beulah development - a proposal that if built would be Melbourne and Australia's next tallest building.

The UNS + Cox design was a result of one of Melbourne's most prominent design competitions to date and has been covered extensively here on The planning application was lodged back in August 2019.

While the ultimate aye or nay is signed off by the Victorian Planning Minister - as the responsible authority for planning application of this scale, the City of Melbourne is a referral authority, and their endorsement will go a long way in helping the Minister make his decision.

There are some other planning hurdles to work through. Notably, aviation authorities are yet to sign off on the proposal as the East Tower's height - 365.1 metres - breaches the PANS-OPS controls for Southbank.

The FMC meeting noted that should aviation authorities reject the proposal as it stands, it is expected the east tower's height will likely be reduced by 11 metres in order to comply with aviation regulations government Essendon airport as they stand.

City of Melbourne unanimously endorses Southbank by Beulah planning application
Southbank by Beulah. Image: UNS/Cox, Beulah

341 one-bedroom apartments, 263 two-bedroom apartments, 146 three-bedroom apartments, 24 four-bedroom apartments and 15 penthouses will see the total apartments to 789 in the East tower. In terms of hotel rooms, there will be 202 and a further 120 hotel residences in the west tower, sending the total number of residential and hotel units over the 1000 mark.

The development will include just over 27,000 square metres of net leasable floor space for office uses. It will consist of over 32,000 square metres of gross lettable area for retail uses that includes food and drink premises and a supermarket.

A childcare centre will be present in the development which will take up 1,200 square metres of the net leasable area - enough space for 100 children. An exhibition centre (1438 square metres) and conservatory (1,758 square metres) are also included in the planning application.

The east tower, subject to aviation and Ministerial approval, will be 365.1 metres high over 102 levels.  The west tower will measure 250 metres across 59 levels.

For perspective, the west tower will be approximately the same height as the 80s-built Rialto Tower at 525 Collins Street. The east tower - subject to aviation approval - will be approximately 48 metres taller than Australia 108, the tower that is in the final stages of construction and the current tallest building in Melbourne.

City of Melbourne unanimously endorses Southbank by Beulah planning application
Southbank by Beulah. Image: UNS/Cox, Beulah

Councillor Rohan Leppert endorsed the application,

"I think the thought that has gone into the ground plane and the multistory activation - with the public access not just to the ground floor but further up the fragmented podium, if you like - of the building is brilliantly well thought through."

Lord Mayor Sally Cap highlighted the accessibility and pedestrian thoroughfare benefits of the proposal - especially as it will create a thoroughfare for pedestrians from City Road, through the site and Freshwater Place and the river.

"I think that those sorts of ways of providing accessibility through what could otherwise be viewed as fortresses in the sky, are really important and they do add considerably [...] to the sense of vibrancy and human activity."

The Lord Mayor also noted council officers recommended several conditions and that they are aimed at improving the outcomes for Southbank and the city while retaining the vision for the project.

To view the Committee's deliberations, you can check out this video on the City of Melbourne's website, the Southbank by Beulah discussion starts at 32 minutes and 36 seconds into the video.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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