Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016

Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016
Mark BaljakJanuary 30, 2016

Melbourne City Council are set to make the early running in 2016 in terms of providing feedback on seven high-rise towers which are still at planning at a state level. This evening's first sitting of the year for the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee will consider the merits of four separate planning applications covering Melbourne's CBD and Fishermans Bend.

In a new planning climate where Melbourne City Council's support or opposition carries a greater weight on the decision making process, the events of this evening may well provide the clearest indication yet on the fate of a number of notable Melbourne projects.

Outlined below are the four projects under consideration this evening.

850-868 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne

Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016
850-868 Lorimer Street. Image courtesy Hayball

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

First appearing on during mid 2014, the Fishermans Bend proposal put forward by commercial and industrial property player Goodman Group has been subject to design changes in the interim.

Initially with four towers, the revised scheme now sees three towers ranging between 28 and 44 storeys with the tallest at 144.75 metres. 1,354 apartments and 1,100 car spaces were set for the development when first submitted, although these figures have come down to 1,134 and 936 respectively.

The project has a revised value of half a billion dollars and has the ability to be built over two separate stages, with the taller two buildings forming stage 1.

111-125 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne

Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016
Franklin and Elizabeth perspective. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

Singaporean developer Tong Eng Group is on the road to gaining approval for their first Australian project. 111-125 A’Beckett Street's 632 dwellings would rank it as one of the CBD's largest apartment projects.

At 210 metres the Elenberg Fraser-designed tower would feature a tinted glazing system which would see a base neutral/silver reflective glazing gradually transition to a multi-coloured tinted glazing. Spandrels over the tower would be arranged in an inverse manner giving the project a point of visual difference relative to many of its existing and future neighbours.

Planning documents show that DEWLP held an initially favourable response to the application and coupled with Melbourne City Council's support 111-125 A’Beckett Street looks set to add to the emerging forest of towers in the CBD's northern end.

478-488 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016
478-488 Elizabeth Street's lower floors. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

Melbourne City Council does not support the proposal

A trio of nominated entities are behind the proposal which is also the handy work of Elenberg Fraser. The proposal as it stands has fallen foul of Melbourne City Council, with issues such as acceptable tower separation and setbacks, impact upon adjoining as yet undeveloped sites, lack of a five star green star rating and parking arrangements cited.

Mixed-use in nature, 478-488 Elizabeth Street would see 383 apartments, 198 hotel suites and a variety of resident/guest-driven amenities included within the 68 storey structure that would rise 208 metres. will highlight the planning application for 478-488 Elizabeth Street next week.

212-222 La Trobe Street and 17-25 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne

Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016
A comparison of old and new. Images courtesy JCB and DCM

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

212-222 La Trobe Street is also subject to planning assessment as Scape Student Living seek to amend the approved scheme from residential to student accommodation use. Previous architects JCB have been replaced by DCM, having been responsible for Scape's first Melbourne project nearby at 393 Swanston Street.

Accordingly the revamped La Trobe Street towers hold similar design traits to the Swanston Street project, with 212-222 La Trobe Street gaining a lattice-like structure over its podium. The development team have sought to square off the tower floorplates with Council describing the outcome as "Effectively a ‘dumbing down’ of the building and is not acceptable."

Internally the buildings will hold a cumulative 827 student dwellings, a doubling of the previous scheme which gained approval for 413 dwellings over essentially the same floor area.

Beyond the planning process, regardless of whether the planning minister approves this application or not, there will be plenty more planning work over the next few years in this immediate area due to the CBD North station, as part of the Melbourne Metro Rail project, being mooted to have its surface buildings constructed on or near the Swanston and La Trobe Street corners.

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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