By Laurence Dragomir, Urban Melbourne
Last month SP Setia announced it had entered into a partnership with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for its twin tower development at 308 Exhibition St.
It was formally approved by Planning Minister Richard Wynne following earlier support from the City of Melbourne.
Located opposite Melbourne’s World Heritage-listed Carlton Gardens, the Cox and Fender Katsalidis-designed development will accommodate a 500-room Shangri-La Hotel in one tower linked via skybridge to a second tower comprising 300 luxury residential apartments.
A 1000-guest ballroom with views over the Carlton Gardens, designed for various events and formats will occupy the upper podium levels.
The residential component to be known as Sapphire by the Gardens will officially be launched later this year.
Existing structures on site are currently being demolished with SP Setia anticipating construction to start on the whole development by the end of the year with an estimated completion date of 2022.
Meanwhile, the City of Melbourne has provided conditional support to Cbus Property’s office development at 311 Spencer St next door to the existing City West Police Complex.
The Woods Bagot designed tower will become the new home for Victoria Police, with the Australian Federal Police also relocating into the 40-storey tower.
A public foyer, police museum (to the street) and 526 bike spaces with end-of-trip facilities (to the rear) will be provided to the ground floor.
While the development’s plot ratio of 20.86:1 is in excess of the Capital City Zone’s (CCZ) plot ratio of 18:1, the proposal’s delivery of commercial office space as a public benefit satisfies the requirements necessary to achieve the proposed floor area uplift.
Pending final approval from Minister Wynne, 311 Spencer St will begin construction ASAP targeting a 2019 completion date.
And lastly, the City of Melbourne is progressing with plans for the long-awaited upgrade to the southern end of Elizabeth St. The project aims to transform the area into “a more functional, safe and attractive gateway for the thousands of pedestrians who use it every day”.
The $2.2 million upgrade will include removing vehicular traffic southbound between Flinders Lane and Flinders St by October this year. This will create double the amount of pedestrian space that currently exists.