32-44 Flinders Street

Column---PlanningBy

Laurence Dragomir 

Following last month’s approval of a number of significant buildings within the CBD, another can be added to the list with the formal approval of a Dexus-owned, SJB-designed, twin-tower at 32-44 Flinders St. 

Rising 56-storeys and 11-storeys for total heights of 181m and 44m respectively, the approval comes after a significant reduction in height of the main tower from the 65-storeys and 212m initially proposed. Dexus has yet to reveal its intentions for the site now that a permit has been granted.

Meanwhile, three consortia have been shortlisted by the State Government to deliver the new Melbourne Metro Rail tunnels and five underground stations. Shortlisted bidders for the private-public partnership (PPP) component of the project will be asked to submit formal proposals early next year with the contract expected to be awarded in 2017 and tunnelling due to start in 2018.

This follows the appointment of John Holland in June for the early works contract which includes excavating massive shafts in the centre of Melbourne as part of preparations for the tunnel and the new underground stations in the CBD.

The last month also saw the release of draft apartment standards for a final round of consultation before they are implemented at the end of the year. While there has been no minimum apartment size dictated, a range of other measures to ensure adequate daylight and natural ventilation requirements to all habitable rooms are achieved.

In other news, the race to develop the City of Melbourne-owned Munro site as part of the Queen Victoria Market Renewal program has seemingly drawn to a close with Cbus Property dropping out of the running, leaving just PDG Corp to bid for the rights to develop the site.

A 60-storey-plus, mixed-use project including 56 affordable housing units, a 120-place childcare facility, family and children’s services centre, community centre and kitchen, artist studio and city room gallery, and customer car parking is expected.

However, the City of Melbourne and Planning Minister Richard Wynne already appear to be at loggerheads over the size and scale of the development with the Minister suggesting he wouldn’t approve a 200m tower adjacent to the market.

Additionally, the City of Melbourne has started investigating options for the pedestrianisation and overall improvement of the southern end of Elizabeth St. Depending on the feedback received during community engagement, the partial or full closure of Elizabeth St south of Flinders Lane may be the outcome.

And lastly, Melbourne has been recognised as the world’s most liveable city for the sixth year in a row by The Economist with an overall score of 97.5, just edging out serial runner up Vienna.

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