Hengmao Australia moves on Maribyrnong's activity centre

Hengmao Australia moves on Maribyrnong's activity centre
Hengmao Australia moves on Maribyrnong's activity centre

Council planners have paved the way for a substantial residential development within the Highpoint Major Activity Centre.

Last week Council ruled upon the proposal that accounts for an amalgamated 4,928 square metre site at 19-21 White Street. It represents the first application lodged for the immediate area since the land was rezoned into a mixed-use setting, and gained in-principle support from Maribyrnong City Council planners.

Council's City Development Special Committee considered the proposal last week for the site which runs off Rosamond Road, and which seeks to replace two large warehouses.

19-21 White Street sees developer Hengmao Australia and Elenberg Fraser converge once more; Hengmao Australia had a hand in South Yarra's Lucia Apartments which was designed by Elenberg Fraser. Whilst that project included 448 apartments, 19-21 White Street is set to yield a more modest 268 apartments.

19-21 White Street application summary

Hengmao Australia moves on Maribyrnong's activity centre
Standing out in the expanses of Maribyrnong. Planning image: Elenberg Fraser
  • Expected development cost: $80 million
  • Site area: 4,928 square metres with 70.3 metre frontage
  • 12 storey mixed-use building: maximum building height of 41 metres
  • 268 dwellings: 75 x 1BR, 173 x 2BR, 20 x 3BR
  • 2 tenancies: 881 square metres
  • Communal open space & amenities: 1026 square metres
  • 2 basement levels: 363 car spaces & 140 bicycles

First in for design 

The proposed development is the first ‘cab of the rank’ in this precinct of the Highpoint Major Activity Centre and sets a benchmark for a high quality design that should be used as an example in future development proposals.

The provision of a public plaza, visually interesting façade and provision of an active frontage with retail space at ground level should be applauded. The application also involves the consolidation of three lots which has attributed to the high quality design and equitable development opportunities for adjoining sites.

Site consolidation is also specifically encouraged by Council policy at this location.

The significant landscaping at podium level further softens the form and draws the attention away from the taller element. It is acknowledged that without the proposed separation, landscaping, site consolidation and recessed nature the additional height would have not been supported.

Report to Maribyrnong's City Development Special Committee
Hengmao Australia moves on Maribyrnong's activity centre
Going green at street level. Planning image: Elenberg Fraser

Excellence over height

Despite a preferred height of ten storeys, planners saw fit to gloss over the extra two levels incorporated into the design.

Principally they believe that 19-21 White Street will set a design precedent for future projects within the activity centre. Site consolidation, building separation, a recessed taller element above the podium and an overall high architectural quality are stand out aspects of the H-shaped design.

Council planners also lauded the overall quality of finishes incorporated across the design, labelling the architectural expression "bold and striking." Pewter-coloured glazing dominates, supported by dark grey painted concrete and silver powder-coated metal screening. 

Surrounded by big-box retail outlets for the foreseeable future, the White Street proposal also includes two large-scale retail tenancies at ground level, with the larger tenancy at approximately 600 square metres.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. 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.

Elenberg Fraser Urban Renewal Apartments Maribyrnong

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