Melbourne’s already-blooming skyline could soon change even more with yet another super tall tower proposed for the CBD.
CBUS Property has proposed a 300-metre tall skyscraper that will be part of larger development project at 447 Collins Street, bound by William and Market Street and Flinders Lane.
The 90-storey skyscraper would rise within the heart of a new city square, but its height would see it overshadowing parts of the Yarra River and Southbank Promenade. The mixed-use building calls for 400 apartments, 250 hotel rooms and 20 levels of office space according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
The winning team competed with HASSELL, Bates Smart and Fender Katsalidis, all of whom collaborated with international partners in their entries for the project.
Woods Bagot specifically sought out SHoP for its urban expertise in driving “a new type of intensification of cities” while bringing “24 hour life to buildings.”
As with many sky-high buildings, shadowing concerns have have created snags with skyscraper's approval as the project's location would require amendments to planning regulations to support its height.
Some say the shadow could stretch as far as Crown Casino and other key landmarks, directly impacting sunlight for these venues.
The site, which currently houses a building built in 1965, was once the home of the city's first official fruit and vegetable market. The demolition of the building has been approved with the design of the development pending.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has described CBUS' proposal as ‘‘premature’’ but has recognised the skyscraper design and surrounding square as “elegant.”
‘‘We say it [the plan] is premature: withdraw it and let’s try to work through a really good answer,’’ he told The Age. ‘‘There are large public policy issues to be determined here – this is one of the most important sites in the city.’’
Councillor Ken Ong added that a planned 2000 square metre park that came as part of the proposal was bigger than City Square (currently the city’s primary public square) and offered a unique opportunity for more public space. He did, however, highlight that the space would be required to balance out with the scale of the skyscraper.
“It is striking, it is unusual and we have to decide do we want something like that when it’s overshadowing part of the Yarra,” Ong said of the development.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy, who is behind many of Melbourne’s recent skyscraper approvals, believes a compromise will be at stake.
“The government want to ensure that first of all we preserve the open space in front of this centre and secondly that we have cooperation between the city council and the state government and the style of permit that replaces it,” he told Channel 7.
CBUS Property believes its offer to create a public square along with with the building would offer countless urban benefits. The square would offer public, retail and green spaces and would serve as the doorstep of the building at one of Melbourne's most prominent intersections.
A detailed design is currently in the works with an artist’s rendition featuring a very modern, sleek skyscraper design. From one angle, the illustration suggests there is a cantilever halfway down the building with several lower levels beneath it.
The project would also reconnect Melbourne's Central Business District to the Yarra River and Southbank.
Due to this, and to the fact that the city has a limited number of public squares, the development team touted the project's benefits through a range of media statements earlier this year.
“Maintaining the status of Melbourne as a significant global megalopolis requires continual innovation, a reputation we as a city are already known for,” said Woods Bagot director Nik Karalis.
“This will create new urban communities, neighbourhoods and experiences,” Karalis added of the project. “The suburbs are moving inwards; 447 Collins street precinct will be an urban catalyst as at it breaks through traditional concepts of the nature of Australian cities and sets new benchmarks for mixed usage development criteria.”
“We are honoured to design this addition to one of Australia’s most famous street,” added Vishaan Chakrabarti, partner at SHoP Architects. “This site has the potential to become a key focus of public life in Melbourne’s Central Business District, as well as a new point of entry into the cross-river cultural loop."
CBUS’ chief executive officer Adrian Pozzo said the project would create some 8,000 jobs in the building and construction industry and associated supply chains which employ many CBUS members.
When it comes to height, Melbournians should be getting used to supertall skyscraper proposals, with three towers approved and set to reach roughly the 300 metre mark; Australia 108 at 319 metres, 250 Spencer Tower 1 at 300 metres and Queensbridge Tower at 276 metres.