The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra

Following on from's in-depth look at the development activity along Spencer Street on the edge of Melbourne's CBD, today we turn our attention to the development shaping one of Melbourne's renowned High Streets - Chapel Street.

The street which stretches through South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor before crossing Dandenong Road into St Kilda, has been previously characterised as a retail strip, but has struggled in recent years due to high rent sought by landlords which has in turn had an impact on the street's liveliness.

According to Stonnington Mayor, Councillor Steve Stefanopoulos, the City of Stonnington is excited about the private and public capital investment being injected into the Chapel Street precinct.

Chapel Street is currently undergoing massive growth and change, he says, with the State Government having commenced construction of the eastern portal of the Metro Tunnel. Redevelopment of the entrance to South Yarra Station (the busiest outside the CBD) and the construction of accessible trams stops out the front, will hopefully commence in the new year.

The South Yarra section of Chapel Street in particular has started to evolve with a more diverse mix of retail offerings and further introduction of food and beverage outlets. The construction slated over the next 3 years will have further impact on the street in the short term but will ultimately enhance and contribute to the street's vibrancy in the long term, according to Beller Commercial's Fred Nucara.

The projects which are due to have the greatest impact on the streetscape are highlighted below:

Capitol Grand

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
Capitol Grand beginning to make its mark on the corner of Chapel St and Toorak Rd. Images: Bates Smart | Urban member redden

LK Property's towering edifice is beginning to take shape on the corner of Chapel Street and Toorak Road, with the development's sinuous forms beginning to emerge from behind the construction screens as the first traces of glazing also begin to appear. After months in the ground constructing the basement levels, head contractor Multiplex is now well above the street on the dual tower development which will top pot at 50 and 10-storeys respectively.

The 180m residential tower brings together three elliptical forms, ensuring that light and shadows play across its surface. The design creates an elegant, slender composition of dynamic character, changing with one’s viewpoint and the weather. The tower top is expressed differently by reducing the mass to create a unique iconic tower worthy of its landmark location.

- Bates Smart

627 Chapel Street 

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
Before & after - 627 Chapel Street. Images: Melbourne Acquisition | Cox Architecture

Currently at planning, the 24-storey Cox Architecture-designed office building would replace the current office building which was sold by Fridcorp to Goldfields in December last year.

Should it receive approval in its current guise, 627 Chapel street would rise to a height of 89m and provide a '3d ground plaza' setback from Chapel Street. 

The design proposal for 627 Chapel Street takes the opportunity to make the most of this unique island site in Forrest Hill.

A 3m setback pushes the building back from Chapel Street, this allows for greater public space at street level and ensures that the Capitol remains visible on approach. The podium is defined by the green landscaped arbor - a permeable screen that wraps the building and connects through to the Daly Street landscaped street

- Cox Architecture

Jam Factory 

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
Artist's impression of the Jam Factory's main square. Image: Floodslicer

Owner of the Jam Factory, Newmark Capital is free to proceed with its substantial redevelopment of the landmark site receiving planning approval. Under the approved plans prepared by Bates Smart, the landmark South Yarra site will be transformed it into a significant commercial hub supported by a network of retail laneways.

According to Bates Smart, the vision for the Jam Factory redevelopment is for a highly permeable site that is an extension of the local context.

An ensemble of buildings will embody and reflect the site’s rich character, establishing a new commercial workplace, but also creating an activated space where the public can enjoy a variety of new hospitality venues.

The redevelopment has been designed to be open and inviting and will deliver a new elevated public realm for the community to enjoy. The precinct’s character provided inspiration for the design.

The existing materiality of the Jam Factory is characterised by solid, authentic materials and industrial rawness. The new façade will reflect the factory typology and structured design language. The public realm on the ground floor will incorporate laneways and a central courtyard and will act as an extension of the urban context and street network.

- Bates Smart

671 Chapel Street

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
671 Chapel Street has approval in hand. Image: Architecton

Amended plans for a 21-storey residential tower at 671 Chapel Street were approved earlier this year, permitting 158 dwellings to be built replacing a single storey building.

The original application lodged with City of Stonnington during 2015 sought approval for a 30-storey building comprising 352 apartments, at an average of 12 apartments per floor. 

Esque - 649 Chapel Street

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
Site works are currently underway at Esque. Images: Valeo Construction | Mark Baljak

Bulk excavation and piling works commenced onsite in January of this year that will ultimately deliver 72 apartments across 20 floors on a narrow site along the northern reaches of Chapel Street.

Valeo Construction is at the helm of the Fender Katalidis-designed tower for developer Mitraland, with the core set to grace the South Yarra streetscape by year's end.

Aloft - 402-416 Chapel Street

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
The Aloft hotel will change the Chapel Street streetscape. Image: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide

The stage is set for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide to debut its Aloft brand in Melbourne, following the demolition and site clearing works in preparation of builder Crema Constructions taking occupation and commencing construction works on the 176-room hotel.

The hotel will anchor a mixed-use development located at 402 Chapel Street designed by international architect Tim Kobe of Eight Inc.

430-438 Chapel Street

The changing face of Chapel Street, South Yarra
430-438 Chapel Street will replace the 'huts' site in South Yarra. Image: Franze Developments

Franze Developments' joint venture with development partner Sampieri Group would see South Yarra's 'huts' site transformed into an 8-storey mixed-use development designed by Jackson Clements Burrows.

The $55 million project will include the retention of the heritage facade on site, while also providing a new pocket park on Bray Street designed by Aspect Studios incorporating water sensitive design

What they say...

We have developed a structure plan for the precinct entitled Chapel ReVision, which guides future development of the largest commercial precinct outside the CBD.

Council is also investing over $60m in its largest capital project in 160 years, converting the 10,000sqm car park behind Chapel Street, Prahran into a contemporary European-style plaza due to open in mid 2019.

- Cr Steve Stefanopoulos, Mayor of Stonnington

Chapel Street is at the bottom of a bell curve at the moment. These major developments within the precinct are detracting from the usual vibrancy, because of the inconvenience, noise and distraction of the construction.

On a positive note, these major infrastructure investments are scheduled for completion in 2019 and 2020.

- Fred Nucara, Director Beller Commercial

For a full recap from Beller Commercial's Fred Nucara listen to our podcast interview.

Lead image: Jam Factory Redevelopment Bates Smart/Floodslicer

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Chapel Street South Yarra Capitol Grand Jam Factory Stonnington

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