Melbourne City Council set the planning tone for 2016

Melbourne City Council are set to make the early running in 2016 in terms of providing feedback on seven high-rise towers which are still at planning at a state level. This evening's first sitting of the year for the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee will consider the merits of four separate planning applications covering Melbourne's CBD and Fishermans Bend.

In a new planning climate where Melbourne City Council's support or opposition carries a greater weight on the decision making process, the events of this evening may well provide the clearest indication yet on the fate of a number of notable Melbourne projects.

Outlined below are the four projects under consideration this evening.

850-868 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne

850-868 Lorimer Street. Image courtesy Hayball

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

First appearing on Urban Melbourne during mid 2014, the Fishermans Bend proposal put forward by commercial and industrial property player Goodman Group has been subject to design changes in the interim.

Initially with four towers, the revised scheme now sees three towers ranging between 28 and 44 storeys with the tallest at 144.75 metres. 1,354 apartments and 1,100 car spaces were set for the development when first submitted, although these figures have come down to 1,134 and 936 respectively.

The project has a revised value of half a billion dollars and has the ability to be built over two separate stages, with the taller two buildings forming stage 1.

111-125 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne

Franklin and Elizabeth perspective. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

Singaporean developer Tong Eng Group is on the road to gaining approval for their first Australian project. 111-125 A’Beckett Street's 632 dwellings would rank it as one of the CBD's largest apartment projects.

At 210 metres the Elenberg Fraser-designed tower would feature a tinted glazing system which would see a base neutral/silver reflective glazing gradually transition to a multi-coloured tinted glazing. Spandrels over the tower would be arranged in an inverse manner giving the project a point of visual difference relative to many of its existing and future neighbours.

Planning documents show that DEWLP held an initially favourable response to the application and coupled with Melbourne City Council's support 111-125 A’Beckett Street looks set to add to the emerging forest of towers in the CBD's northern end.

478-488 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

478-488 Elizabeth Street's lower floors. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

Melbourne City Council does not support the proposal

A trio of nominated entities are behind the proposal which is also the handy work of Elenberg Fraser. The proposal as it stands has fallen foul of Melbourne City Council, with issues such as acceptable tower separation and setbacks, impact upon adjoining as yet undeveloped sites, lack of a five star green star rating and parking arrangements cited.

Mixed-use in nature, 478-488 Elizabeth Street would see 383 apartments, 198 hotel suites and a variety of resident/guest-driven amenities included within the 68 storey structure that would rise 208 metres.

Urban Melbourne will highlight the planning application for 478-488 Elizabeth Street next week.

212-222 La Trobe Street and 17-25 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne

A comparison of old and new. Images courtesy JCB and DCM

Melbourne City Council supports the proposal subject to conditions

212-222 La Trobe Street is also subject to planning assessment as Scape Student Living seek to amend the approved scheme from residential to student accommodation use. Previous architects JCB have been replaced by DCM, having been responsible for Scape's first Melbourne project nearby at 393 Swanston Street.

Accordingly the revamped La Trobe Street towers hold similar design traits to the Swanston Street project, with 212-222 La Trobe Street gaining a lattice-like structure over its podium. The development team have sought to square off the tower floorplates with Council describing the outcome as "Effectively a ‘dumbing down’ of the building and is not acceptable."

Internally the buildings will hold a cumulative 827 student dwellings, a doubling of the previous scheme which gained approval for 413 dwellings over essentially the same floor area.

Beyond the planning process, regardless of whether the planning minister approves this application or not, there will be plenty more planning work over the next few years in this immediate area due to the CBD North station, as part of the Melbourne Metro Rail project, being mooted to have its surface buildings constructed on or near the Swanston and La Trobe Street corners.


Alastair Taylor's picture

Summary of the decisions made by the Future Melbourne Committee from the 2/2/16 meeting - thanks to Cr Rohan Leppert via Twitter.

The four letters they'll be sending to the Planning Minister are summarised as follows:

  • 111-125 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne: support subject to conditions.
  • 478-488 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne: does not support
  • 212-222 La Trobe Street and 17-25 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne: supports changes to internal layout, change of use to student accom, external alterations to the tower footprint, deletion of the proposed multi-level sky bridge and reinstatement of existing sky bridge; subject to conditions
  • 850-868 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne: support subject to conditions - a new condition was added "variation to the height of the podiums to alternate between 4, 5 and 6 stories".

Once the full meeting minutes are uploaded to City of Melbourne's site, I'll link back to them.

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TIM ROWE's picture

s it possible to make a digitally signed submission by users of this and Melbourne skyscrapercity forumers to the planning minister in regards to 212-222 La Trobe st?

Something like:

As a community of people concerned with the aesthetic look and feel of Melbourne that we support the internal changes to this proposal but object the external changes as it really is a "dumbing down" of the original proposal and will be a very stark eyesore, contradictory to, and detracting from the beauty of the under construction Aurora Tower

Melbourne has the potential of being an internationally renowned city for timeless comtemporary skyscraper design with this new generation of 200+ towers complementing the existing classics.

This developments facades in particular can either add to or detract from this potential with its acceptable currently approved, versus cheap and nasty looking pending approval schemes respectively

We all saw the decision that was made with 80 Spring st where a decent proposal was put forward to get height approved and then swapped at the 11th hour for a much more basic and cheap design that was ultimately approved… seemingly without your knowing or understanding of the difference between the two from communication between you and people on the urban Melbourne forum?

We think that we speak for most of Melbourne when we say that we would opt for much more appeasing design outcomes that will inspire and impress observers even if they are "very tall" rather than short boxes with no real imagination or care in their design

Walls of skyscrapers at 150m and 200m will look OK, but wouldn't it be more interesting if some developers were allowed to pierce these limits creating variations?

Perhaps rather than simply unnecessarily chopping tower heights down, developers could first be offered an incentive of raising the tower design bar to landmark status as well as providing further benefits to the public realm in beautification as seen in some new Sydney developments with water features, sculptures, and greenery where the foyer meets the footpath?

We think that if a brief and cheap survey was conducted on the streets of the city asking if in terms of development people would rather see 24 story boxes, 50 story towers designed to the boundary with sheer blank concrete walls on one or more sides, or shimmering reflective color glass 100 story landmarks with great street amenity, 50% of people would go for the tall option 30% of people would say don't care and only 10 or less percent would go for each the concrete wall or short stack options.

There will always be the groups of extremists that for whatever reason are aggressively passionate about something that is good for nobody, but just because a suicide bomber will give their life to their cause does not mean that their view should be appeased or catered for.

We just hope that you haven’t fallen out of touch with the city you have the luxury and power of representing.

Your decisions will affect the lives of everyone in this city for generations to come, if you think you are doing Melbourne a favour by erring on the side of caution and chopping down the height of amazing proposals to the point where the developers lose interest in them, not only costing the future aesthetic of our skyline to be a global tourist drawcard (on par with NY and HK) but also billions of dollars in construction and employment, then we make a COMPASSIONATE PLEA to you to open your mind and heart to the people that you have been elected to make decisions for and simply conduct a one week or less survey on the streets of Melbourne and find out for certain what Melbournian's are actually concerned about rather than being swayed by the delusional but very passionately vocal minority obsessing with Melbourne competing with European cities

We love our Euro laneways and they should be preserved at all costs, but height in other or close by areas is irrelevant and besides we simply don't have a historic city centre like Euro capitals, and while we do think all of Melbourne's true gems should be heritage protected (unless they are eyesore multideck car parks) we believe that Melbourne on average would prefer a CBD that draws the eye as well as inspiration, something moving forward into the future rather than stagnating or limiting itself from the amazing potential being offered by foreign investment companies and developers right now, not only for our skyline, but also our economy.

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