Melbourne's development march claims another victim

Melbourne's development march claims another victim
Mark BaljakMay 28, 2016

Melbourne Heritage Action is less than impressed that a proposed student accommodation tower located at 42-50 La Trobe Street has been given the nod by City of Melbourne councillors, further eroding the limited heritage value that this particular stretch of La Trobe Street has managed to cling to.

Indeed, City of Melbourne resolved to issue a Notice of Decision to Grant Permit last Thursday evening for the project. In its most recent form which saw it land before City of Melbourne during April, 9 objectors were noted against the development which has a nominal value of $75 million.

Brisbane-based Blue Sky Funds is championing the project which would further add to the strong number of student accommodation projects currently in the Melbourne pipeline.

Melbourne's development march claims another victim
Melbourne Heritage Action's take on the project

Melbourne Heritage Action's response to the decision was blunt:

It’s arguably Melbourne City Council’s most shameful heritage failure in recent memory.

Councillors have variously sat on their own hands, ignored the advice of their own heritage experts, and ignored the pleas of their own constituents in allowing the demolition of the former Burton’s Livery building at 50 La Trobe Street, a gorgeous, recognised, C-graded 1868 Victorian former carriageworks, in a relatively unique (for the CBD) Italianate style.

The building was left unprotected when in 2011, Council decided to ignore the advice of THEIR OWN HERITAGE EXPERTS in allowing the demolition of its twin building at 40 La Trobe St for an apartment tower, and ignoring contemporaneous recommendations to protect the rest of the streetscape.

Melbourne Heritage Action

Appearing first on during 2015, 42-50 La Trobe Street was in the hands of DELWP. Subsequent redesigns to the project landed it below the 25,000sqm threshold, placing the project solely with City of Melbourne for the approvals process.

Melbourne's development march claims another victim
Hayball's depiction of a new La Trobe Street frontage

With a number of levels removed, the current scheme sees a tower of equal height to the nearby Conservatory apartment development; both will terminate at approximately 130 metres. 42-50 La Trobe Street is designed to accommodate 783 student beds in a number of configurations over 43 levels, with extensive amenities in tow.

Perhaps most salient to the article is the revamped ground level which is set to replace the 1868-era structure currently onsite.

Architects Hayball have sought to connect La Trobe Street with Bell Place which runs along the northern border of the site. The bluestone-paved laneway will be lined with active retail frontages and extensive external seating, catering for both students and the expanding population in the immediate area.

Melbourne's development march claims another victim
ADCO's Deakin Burwood student accommodation build

The apparent approval of 42-50 La Trobe Street adds to the already robust student accommodation development sector which is experiencing heightened activity at the moment.

On the back of recent completions at RMIT Bundoora, VUT Footscray and Monash Clayton, further builds are in progress within Melbourne's CBD and at Deakin Burwood. Additionally, GSA Group are at the tail end of the construction tender process for 205-223 Pelham Street which is set to commence shortly.

Most recently South Africa-based Redefine secured 16-32 Leicester Street on the doorstep of the CBD with intentions of bowling over the multi-level car park for another 700-bed student housing development.

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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