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:
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
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.