Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval

Mark BaljakFebruary 15, 20160 min read

Jockeying they may for approval be but if City of Port Phillip were to have its way these five projects which fall within the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area would be heavily modified in order to gain approval. While the final call lies with the State Government, City of Port Phillip have provided extensive feedback on each of the proposals via recent Council meetings.

The five highlighted South Melbourne projects below also provide a snapshot of the uncertain state of planning within Fishermans Bend due to the uncertain nature of policy implementation in recent years. Two projects have been redesigned to be considerably shorter post the announcement of interim height controls for the area, while another has also been redesigned upwards to meet the maximum height achievable.

According to City of Port Phillip, the two most recent proposals, 91-95 Montague Street and 240-246 Normanby Road, adhere to height limits yet have major flaws regarding setbacks. It is worth noting the State Government's planning controls implemented during 2015 that regulate matters such as tower separation and setbacks does not apply to Fishermans Bend.

Here are the five proposals which City of Port Phillip have passed judgement on:

15-87 Gladstone Street, South Melbourne

Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval
Glanstone Street's new look. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

One of Fishermans Bend's earliest approvals, the former MAB Corporation-controlled 5,985sqm site at 15-87 Gladstone Street changed hands during 2015 with Elenberg Fraser now entrusted with the redesign of the expansive project.

Gone is the original Hayball scheme and in its place is a proposal for three 30 level residential towers; each of approximately 100 metres in height. 746 apartments are included, involving 254 x 1BR, 432 x 2BR & 60 x 3BR. 457sqm of retail space, 596 car parking spaces and 235 (155 resident, 80 visitor) bicycle parking spaces round out the amended proposal.

City of Port Phillip do support the amended plans for the most, with one of their requests seeking that not all three towers be of equal height, citing skyline views and streetscape appearance as being factors.

240-246 Normanby Road, South Melbourne

Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval
Hayball's envisaged Normanby Road Precinct

Planning information is now available on the Hayball-designed six tower proposal unveiled for Normanby Road during mid 2015. Headed by Planning & Property Partners, the scheme represents the cooperation of various separate property owners.

Sheblon Pty Ltd is behind 240-246 Normanby Road which is known as site 4 within the sub-precinct and would accommodate 12 commercial tenancies, 3 retail spaces, 77 car parking spaces, 250 bicycle spaces and 204 dwellings above.

City of Port Phillip in their lack of support for the project state:

It is considered that the proposal shows little imagination on a prominent corner of the Montague Precinct, the reduced setbacks proposed would result in adverse streetscape and amenity impacts on abutting land and roads. The development as proposed would not meet the tower separation provisions of the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan.

The substantial reductions or full waivers of the setback and/or tower separation provisions of the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan are clear manifestations of the overdevelopment.

91-95 Montague Street, South Melbourne

Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval
Rothelowman's Montague Street tower

New to the Project Database is 91-95 Montague Street which is championed by Thousand Degree Pty Ltd. Rothelowman have designed a 30 storey building comprising a six storey podium with 24 storeys above, chiefly for the purpose of accommodating 126 apartments split between 51 x 1BR and 75 x 2BR spaces.

Lower levels would feature a community space with associated open space.

City of Port Phillip have raised concerns regarding the design and size of the proposed community spaces which they deem not fit for purpose. Issues regarding setbacks and the applicant not owning or controlling the subject site in its entirety, resulting in the need to purchase an abutting lane from Council have been at the core of Council's discontent. To this end Council do not support the proposal.

51-59 Thistlethwaite Street, South Melbourne

Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval
Laneway from Thistlethwaite Street. Image courtesy Inhabit Design

Spec Property's ongoing battle to have their South Melbourne proposal find favour continues with VCAT involved in the process. A third set of plans for the project have been produced resulting in a vastly smaller scheme ranging between 4 and 8 levels, a far cry from Inhabit Design's initial 16 level proposal.

Overall dwellings have fallen from an original 258 to 161, with the new scheme containing 90 x 1BR, 66 x 2BR and 7 x 3BR. Inhabit Design have made substantial changes from the first submission which weighed in at 16 levels

City of Port Phillip maintain that the built height to City Road would be too excessive and that question marks remain over dwelling amenity.

134-142 Ferrars Street, South Melbourne

Five South Melbourne projects jockey for approval
Rothelowman's old and new creations side by side

Another of Fishermans Bend's early applications is back in the spotlight, although gone is Rothelowman's expansive tower for the Ferrars Street site. It is instead replaced by another equally impressive design by the Southbank-based design firm.

Sunguard Availability Services Vic DC1 Pty Ltd as the developer has gone with a substantially shorter scheme which has subsequently seen apartments numbers trimmed and fall from 381 to 261. The revised scheme which is still taller than the preferred height limit would consist of a glazed tower form covered by a honeycombed metal finish, providing the area with a highly distinctive building.

Council once more does not support the application.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.
City of Port Phillip
Fishermans Bend
South Melbourne
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