Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development

Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development
Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development

A key Northbank site with a long history looks to be reaching a resolution, following the City of Melbourne announcing its support for developer Riverlee's scheme for a $450 million revitalisation of Goods Shed No.5.

The mixed-use development at 731-739 Flinders Street, replaces a 2013 permit for a 14-storey office building with commercial and retail spaces. Designed by Cox Architecture the development allowed for:

  • 14 level office tower with 21,000m² net leasable area of office space
  • 129 car parking spaces provided within the podium levels 1-4
  • Shed 5 transformed to provide for food and retail tenancies
  • The existing helipad located on the riverfront retained
  • A public plaza to the east of Shed 5, south of Seafarers Mission, addressing the Yarra
Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development
2013 permitted office scheme designed by COX. Image : Cox Architecture

The revised scheme - designed by Fender Katsalidis - comprises a 17-storey residential and hotel tower, rising behind the retained and refurbished Goods Shed No.. Built in 1855, the existing shed structure which spans 220m, will be refurbished to provide for a function hall facility with frontage along the wharf's edge and access to a new 3,500 sqm public park designed by OCULUS. 

The hotel component has been designed to target the 5 star hotel market and comprises 231 rooms, with a further 182 apartments to be located on levels 8-17 

    The proposal has since undergone a number of design iterations which involved meetings with DELWP and the City of Melbourne to refine the ultimate design that was submitted for planning consideration. As part of the revised scheme, the existing gantry crane will be relocated to the eastern end of the site.

    This is a very significant project for us, as it marks the completion of our extensive redevelopment of the Northbank precinct, which started back in 2005 when we first purchased the World Trade Centre.

    We have truly enjoyed the collaborative design process with all of our partners and important government stakeholders, including the City of Melbourne, DELWP, Department of Treasury and Finance, Heritage Victoria and many others.

    The amended design is bold and striking, and is the result of a truly collaborative design process.

    - David Lee, Riverlee Development Director

    Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development
    The evolution of the design from the 2013 approved scheme. Image : FK Planning Report

    In addition to a reduced building mass, the facade has also undergone a significant change with the stacked curvilinear forms' and expressed vertical fenestration being replaced by a series of staggered serrated forms of various scales.

    The lower levels have a much finer grain articulation with recessed glazing creating a sense of movement along the facade while the upper levels are a far more extreme expression - with a stacked, interlocking modular appearance.

    Overall the revised scheme extends 9.8m higher than the permitted scheme. The lower levels of the amended tower element project to a greater extent over both the south eastern section and the western section of the Goods Shed than the approved scheme.

    The relationship of the new built form with the Goods Shed and Seafarers Mission has been improved via a revised tower footprint that employs a greater setback to the Dome of the Seafarers Mission and Seafarers Rest Park, reducing the visual impact the building will have on the adjacent heritage buildings and public realm. Additionally, the ground level activation and pedestrian north-south link have been enhanced.

    City of Melbourne’s Urban Design is generally supportive of the height, scaling and massing of the proposed amended development. Urban Design has supported the increased separation from the Seafarers Mission Dome which provides a better visual link for pedestrians through the site and to the Seafarers Rest Park.

    Changes to the tower to move the upper portion further away from river and to refine the way the upper apartment fenestration intersected with the lower hotel parts. Overall the tower is a building of its time and now sits comfortably within a glass box context along the river with the backdrop of Collins Square and Melbourne Quarter.

    - City of Melbourne, Future Committee Delegation Report

    With support from the City of Melbourne in hand, a final decision from the Minister for Planning, who is the responsible authority, appears to be a mere formality. 

    Third time lucky for Riverlee's 731-739 Flinders Street development
    The revised scheme has an improved relationship with the public realm and heritage buildings on site. Image : FK via Planning Report


    • Developer: Riverlee
    • Architect: Fender Katsalidis
    • Landscape Architect: OCULUS
    • Planner: Urbis
    • 182 residential apartments (levels 8-17) ranging in size from 60sqm to 200sqm
    • One bedroom units: 25
    • Two bedroom units: 137
    • Three bedroom units: 18
    • Four bedroom units: 2
    • 231 Hotel rooms (levels 3-7) ranging in size from 55sqm to 200sqm
    • Ground level function venue for 700 patrons within refurbished 1855 Goods Shed No.5
    • Building height: 69.4 metres (including plant)
    • Gross Floor Area : 53,615 sqm
    • New 3,500sqm park designed by OCULUS

    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.

    Goods Shed Northbank Fender Katsalidis Riverlee Oculus

    Comments (1)

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    What would you like to say about this project?
    They should have kept the office space, given how in-demand space is this would have made an awesome office location.
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