Melbourne under construction in 2005

Melbourne under construction in 2005
Mark BaljakOctober 10, 2015

Is Melbourne a boom city? Indeed, but this was also the case during 2005, when the CBD and surrounds well and truly shrugged of the doldrums of the late 1990s with a rash of high-profile projects under construction.

The CBD saw an influx of new commercial space while Southbank capably led by Eureka Tower came into its own for the first time. While dozens of notable residential and commercial builds were underway, important civic projects such as the MCG's Great Northern Stand and the rebirth of Spencer Street Station also aided in giving the Melbourne a renewed vigour.

Here is an overview of what was being built in Melbourne a decade ago.

Commercial in from the cold

Melbourne under construction in 2005
The commercial sector was at its peak during 2005

Following years of inactivity, the commercial sector finally roared back into life with a string of prestigious projects with premium anchor tenants to boot. 2005 delivered 11 Exhibition Street, PwC Australia at 2 Southbank Boulevard and the RACV Centre on Bourke Street.

In the CBD's eastern end Council House 2, Urban Workshop, Southern Cross Tower 1 and 8 Exhibition Street were midway through construction in a surge of commercial activity that has not been matched since. All in all beyond 300,000sqm of commercial space was under construction during 2005, as compared to today where major commercial builds are confined to Collins Quarter in Docklands and PwC Australia's new home at 2 Riverside Quay.

Residential living on the rise

Melbourne under construction in 2005
Eureka, Freshwater Place, Victoria Point and Yve

The list of residential towers under construction during 2005 was immense; the sheer number of residential projects truly cemented apartment living as a viable alternative to 'The Australian Dream' in Melbourne for the first time. Docklands and Southbank accounted for many residential projects, with the CBD's time in the sun some years away from fruition.

Premium projects that are considered landmarks today which were under construction during 2005 included Eureka Tower, its neighbour Feshwater Place and Yve on St Kilda Road; the latter would later win the Victorian Architecture Medal at the 2006 Royal Institute of Architects awards.

A notable mention also goes to Royal Domain Tower which not only became (and remains) St Kilda Road's tallest addition during 2005, but also remains one of the city's most exclusive apartment projects.

Tertiary projects

Melbourne under construction in 2005
Brookes Gillsepie House, Monash Caulfield and Swinburne's Hawthorn expansion

Four notable projects were on the go over the course of 2005. Brookes Gillespie House and Melbourne University's Eastern Precinct created hundreds of new student apartments in Carlton, although the quality of architecture for both was more than debatable.

Swinburne created dual buildings, aptly named x_change @ Swinburne which would be precursors to multiple new builds at the Hawthorn campus in the proceeding years to come. Monash University's Caulfield campus also delivered two new builds during 2005, considered the first buildings within the 'Western Precinct' that has seen many proposals since, but little construction thereafter.

Ancillary builds

Melbourne under construction in 2005
MCG, health projects and Southern Cross Station

Some other memorable projects are approaching their tenth anniversary. Southern Cross Station and the MCG's Northern Stand are the most recognisable; construction of both projects was stretched over a number of years in order to keep both facilities operating during their builds.

Lesser heralded medical projects also features during 2005 with the massive Austin and Mercy Hospital in Heidelberg reaching completion under the guidance of then contractor Baulderstone Hornibrook. Closer to the CBD and Baulderstone Hornibrook also undertook construction of The Alfred Centre, with initial works commencing during 2005.

In years to come the famed Baulderstone Hornibrook name would disappear, yet their legacy remains as do the many builds of 2005, which in many ways are the precursor to the boom times in construction that Melbourne enjoys today.

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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