Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market

Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market
Mark BaljakApril 18, 2015

Malaysian-based Mitraland Group has flagged its intention to enter the Melbourne apartment sector with plans currently on display with City of Stonnington for a 20 level residential tower within South Yarra's Forrest Hill Precinct. Lodged with council during December 2014, the Fender Katsalidis-designed tower is nominated to have an end value of approximately $50 million.

Long earmarked unsuccessfully for development and surrounded by larger forthcoming towers such as 661 Chapel Street and LK Property's Capitol Grand, Mitraland are no doubt hoping the current planning application will find a favourable outcome in due course.

649 Chapel Street application summary

Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market
Artist's impression of 649 Chapel Street. Image courtesy FK Architects
  • Current use: two storey commercial/retail building over a roughly 500sqm site
  • Proposed: 20 level residential development at 61 metres in height
  • 72 apartments: all with two bedrooms
  • 71sqm retail outlet at ground level
  • 44 car parking and 21 bicycle spaces located within three basement levels
  • GFA: 8,794sqm
  • ​Communal rooftop space: dining/BBQ area and open-air roof garden

The site in question has been to VCAT in recent years, unsuccessfully, with the then proponent trying to gain approval for a 17 level residential building holding 82 apartments. Urbis state within the current planning application that any proposal put forward for the site:

Must demonstrate design excellence that will result in an outstanding building for the precinct. It is also imperative that any new proposal responds positively to the previous VCAT determinations

Urbis, 649 Chapel Street Planning Submission

Issues VCAT raised for the site during the previous proposal's hearing include that the northern facade be well articulated given the adjoining and substantially lower Quest apartment complex is unlikely to be redeveloped, and that there be a clear differentiation between podium and tower. The latter point was further articulated at the time where VCAT stated they don't necessarily consider a setback pivotal, rather that there be a visible difference in treatment between lower and upper levels.

Project architect Fender Katsalidis have employed metal fins over lower levels with a red ochre-like finish to provide contrast.

Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market
The previously unsuccessful proposal for 649 Chapel Street

Generally the exterior is dominated by precast walls to the north and south with an embossed pattern and applied colour designed to break its bulk. The northern facade has a considerable light court running the height of the tower included within the floorplan, accounting for roughly 42sqm of a typical floor's area.

Separated by the light court and the abutting lift, habitable areas within the proposal are essentially split into east and west wings. A generic plan covers levels 5-18, where each wing consists of two apartments with four per floor the norm. While all the apartments carry two bedrooms, the average internal area per apartment is approximately 75sqm with 66sqm and 83sqm the extremities.

Within its context, the proposed building contributes significantly through a well-designed and dynamic piece of architecture. Its form is sleek and slender, while being both sensitive and striking. A suited mix of glass and concrete fold into one another, and an otherwise continuous form is interjected by central voids and light courts that allow light to filter through the centre of the building.

The slender vertical tower element provides a distinct separation between podium and tower forms through varied materials and visible recesses.

Urbis, 649 Chapel Street Planning Submission
Malaysia's Mitraland looks to enter the Melbourne apartment market
16 Quartz development as per the Mitraland website

Incorporated during February 2014, Mitraland Australia is the Australian affiliate of Petaling Jaya-based Mitraland Group. Formed during 1998, Mitraland Group has completed a host of medium and high-density residential projects predominantly in and around Kuala Lumpur.

Mitraland Australia is the latest Malaysian developer to enter the local market, following in the footsteps of well established players such as SP Setia and Mammoth Empire. Another Malaysian developer soon to make an impression upon Melbourne is PJ Development Holdings which holds a 20,000sqm land parcel at 93-119 Kavanagh Street, Southbank. Speculation is that a tower of up to 300 metres is in the offing for the site, in a development value at approximately $1 billion.

649 Chapel Street development team

  • Urban Context Report: Fender Katsalidis Architects
  • Architectural plans: Fender Katsalidis Architects
  • Planning: Urbis
  • Sustainable Management Plan: Ark Resources
  • Traffic Engineering: Cardno
  • ​Waste Management Plan: Leigh Design

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.

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