Northern lights: the incredible rate of change in Melbourne's northern CBD

Mark BaljakJune 15, 20150 min read

Cast your eyes over the northern reaches of Melbourne's CBD and a not-too-subtle marker is taking its place. Brady Group's Vision has motored past the 150 metre mark on its way to 226 metres and in doing so is acting as a vanguard project of sorts for the rash of new residential towers set to redefine this section of Melbourne.

With a host of new proposals joining the ranks of late, now presents as an opportune time to provide an overview of these residential towers that promise to remodel the northern areas of the CBD beyond recognition.

The current drop

Northern lights: the incredible rate of change in Melbourne's northern CBD
A host of projects are early into their construction cycle

Clockwise above are Eporo, Light House, EQ Tower, Victoria One and Empire, the most advanced of which has risen two levels above ground. Joining these projects in the early stages of construction are Trillium and La Trobe Tower.

Near on 3,100 apartments are contained within the above seven projects, demonstrating the sheer pace at which this section of the CBD is evolving into a high-rise residential hub. With Vision, The Carlson and part of Fulton Lane also under construction, the number of apartments under construction is inflated by a further 1,460.​

It's a staggering number, yet such is the volume of upcoming projects north of La Trobe Street and south of Victoria Street that it can easily be surpassed by those projects in waiting.


A master sales agent has been assigned to 8 Bouverie Street, with its sales campaign imminent. Snapped up by Hengyi, the project is set to follow the current project Light House, albeit with a greater apartment yield exceeding 1,000 dwellings; the final numbers for the project will be revealed shortly.

Also pushing up the development chain are two separate projects for student accommodation provider Scape Student Living. 212-222 La Trobe Street and 393 Swanston Street between them are capable of providing in excess of 1,500 dwellings and have a completion date spread over 2018-2019. These are joined by the approved 377 La Trobe Street scheme which would essentially sit between the two nominated projects above, although its delivery timeframe is unknown.

Northern lights: the incredible rate of change in Melbourne's northern CBD
Side by side and set for reshape the La Trobe Street landscape

Also maintaining a 2019 completion timeline is Aurora Melbourne Central which is due to begin site demolition at present while 97 Franklin Street remains the only major approved development in the CBD's northern precinct without publicly known development plans. The 200 metre plus golden tower is value at approximately $200 million and would carry 551 apartments and 144 serviced apartments.

Looming is Conservatory with in excess of 450 apartments; it will be UEM Sunrise's next Melbourne venture post the sales success of Aurora Melbourne Central.

The projects at planning are equally as imposing with four towers in excess of 200 metres on the radar. Headlining the show is Queens Place with 1,700 dwellings over two hulking towers, the tallest of which is 267 metres. Nearby 293 - 303 La Trobe Street Melbourne is shaping up for a slender residential tower with 370 dwellings over what is the Duke of Kent hotel.

Most recently submitted for assessment is 478 Elizabeth Street with a 68 storey mixed-use development envisaged. 399 apartments and 196 hotel suites would constitute the development's yield.

Northern lights: the incredible rate of change in Melbourne's northern CBD
Image © Laurence Dragomir

Perhaps the most poignant indicator as the the rapid change and sheer volume of projects sweeping through the northern parts of the CBD is the render created by Laurence Dragomir above. Barely a year old the image depicts six of the tallest proposals with Aurora Melbourne Central being the only project not at construction.

If nothing else the dynamism of this pocket of the CBD provides impetus for an updated render.

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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