Late last month a scheduled VCAT hearing was held for an interesting proposed residential development situated at 781-807 Dandenong Road, Malvern East. Currently a low-rise office complex, Bensons Property Group have facilitated plans to deliver an 18 level apartment block in an area where 6-8 levels has been the accepted norm in the emerging activity centre. After the success of their last high-rise project, ALT Apartments in Travancore, Bensons have once more turned to Fender Katsalidis Architects to deliver this scheme.
Stonnington City Council chose not to make a planning decision within the prescribed time frame although raised a number of concerns. Subsequently Fender Katsalidis produced an amended planning application that went before VCAT. Changes to the initial scheme included addition of visitor bike spaces, an enhanced landscape plan, changes over lower levels to maximise privacy concerns for intended future residents and neighbouring properties along with increased setbacks in areas. Architect Karl Fender in his witness statement to VCAT noted the following:
"The size and location of the subject site offers a compelling opportunity to provide a comprehensively designed mixed use development which provides a much needed higher density residential accomodation in a strategic location and which in turn respects the neighbours while appropriately marking this evolving precinct with architecture of excellence."
The intended development sees 314 apartments and 10 home offices as the main use spaces within the complex. Of the 314 apartments, 96 are slated to be one bedroom dwellings while a further 11 one bedroom options will come with a study. The remaining 207 apartments will hold two bedrooms over a variety of different floor plans. Lower levels see up to 28 dwellings per floor owing to the large size of the floor plate while upper levels of the tower carry 18 apartments per floor, the exception being level 17 where only 10 apartments are available of which two are single bedroom dwellings that will enjoy expansive views.
Supplemental to the above are multiple retail spaces totaling 365sqm while residential amenity areas total 138sqm, including a multi purpose meeting space. The required large setback from podium to tower has enabled an expansive landscaped area of 844sqm to be designed atop level four. The overall height of the tower is 61.7 metres and offers views in all directions, including those of the 'Phoenix Precinct' than encompasses nearby Monash University and Caulfield Racecourse, both of which have been slated for high-rise development.
Three basement levels will see car parking as will portions of the initial three levels above ground, which includes a double height first floor. 374 car parking spaces accessed via Dandenong Road are called for with 11 tandem spaces also included, as are provisions for 441 bicycle spaces and storage facilities. The total 365sqm of retail space will be split between three shops either side of a large residential lobby also facing Dandenong road.
In terms of ESD aspects and design impacts, consultancy firm ERM prepared a report for VCAT with a number of interesting elements. Outlined in the report is the developer's intention to include two electronic promotion signs measuring 9.6 metres by 3.55 metres, these will be located on level two of the Dandenong Road facade. Large advertising screens current exist above the occupying two level structure, nonetheless it's not that common to see a residential development with large electronic signage included.
Typical ESD principles are included such as water harvesting for re-use over landscaped areas, a host of efficient fittings and finishes and the use of solar panels. ERM also contends that given the current poor nature of the public realm, should the development be approved it will promote positive public interaction due to the developments active frontages and retail offerings.
Harking back to ALT Travancore, the podium-top landscape design is quite similar to that of ALT's in terms of layout and use of colour. Aspects of the 844sqm space seen below include barbeque facilities, large areas of synthetic turf, coloured paving, large planter boxes and a large pergola with hanging greenery attached.
VCAT has yet to release a decision on 781-807 Dandenong Road, Malvern East.
See below a selection of high quality photo montages provided for the VCAT hearing. All images below © FloodSlicer