A big month in planning

By Laurence Dragomir

Another month and another slew of planning applications have made their way on to Urban Melbourne’s radar – most notably 200m+ towers at 293-303 LaTrobe St and 350 Queen St.

The Duke of Kent site at 293-303 LaTrobe St would become Figtree Holdings Limited’s first foray into Melbourne. Designed by DKO Architecture, the 66-storey, 213m tower would replace the current pub with 370 apartments.

DKO has employed a visually unique and highly interesting ground level interface to the site’s three frontages, namely LaTrobe St, Sutherland St and Flanigan Lane. To avoid creating a “choke point” of sorts by building to the site’s boundaries, the lower level has been arched inwards so as to improve the pedestrian experience to both Sutherland St and Flanigan Lane.

With a nominal value of $750 million, the project at 350 Queen St, to be formally known as Queens Place, will see an expansive five-level podium topped with two towers terminating at 246 m in height. The site owner’s 3L Alliance engaged Cox Architecture and Fender Katsalidis as joint project architects following a limited design competition.

The sheer size of the development will see the residential towers delivered over two stages, with the current planning application seeking approval for Towers 1 and 2, with Tower 2’s building envelope subject to further detailed development plans which will be provided by the development team for assessment at a future point.

The end of June also saw a host of planning applications submitted throughout the city which sought to avoid the financial imposition of the Metropolitan Planning Levy, which sees all planning permit applications for developments in metropolitan Melbourne with an estimated development cost of over $1 million attract a $1.30 levy for every $1000 of the estimated cost of the development. The new levy has now come into effect.

Within the City of Melbourne, the lone application was Besgate Group’s 85-storey mixed-use tower scheme. Expected to deliver a total of 989 apartments, the tower at 640 Bourke St replaces an earlier 42-level scheme of 563 apartments.

Applications considered by the City of Melbourne’s Future (Planning) Committee within the Hoddle Grid included a 38-storey residential tower at 9-27 Downie St, 274-278 Little Lonsdale St (59-storeys, 314 apartments) and 280 Queen St (77-storeys, 589 apartments) neither of which found favour with CoM, who have recommended that the Minister for Planning reject the applications.

And finally, rounding out this month’s planning news, is Fragrance Group’s Premier Tower on Spencer St which has become the talk of the town both locally and internationally making global headlines due to its Beyonce-esque form.
Citing Bey’s Ghost music video as their source of inspiration, architects Elenberg Fraser have created a marketer’s dream which has seen apartment sales for the building tick over 60 per cent.

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