Less than a year after the proposed Australia 108 tower by Fender Katsalidis received the go-ahead from the Victorian Government, the award-winning architecture firm has sold its stake in the ambitious project, which had been slated to become the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.
Fairfax has reported that Singapore-based property developers the Aspial Corporation bought the project late last year at a speculated cost of $30 million. In December, the company also invested $41.5 million to secure the West Melbourne office complex at 383 King Street formerly occupied by the National Australia Bank.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy originally approved the 388-metre Australia 108 skyscraper in March 2013 amidst concerns over the building’s height, over-shadowing and infringement on federal aircraft regulations.
Upon approval, Australia 108 already exceeded the council’s 100-metre height limit at its proposed location at 70 Southbank Boulevard. Last July, it was forced to be scaled back for that reason as well as due to safety concerns.
According to reports, architect Nonda Katsalidis and Guy were both unaware of the PANS-OPS flight path restrictions enforced by Vic Roads and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority which Australia 108 surpassed by 15 metres.
Australia 108 was originally designed in a “starburst” shape, paying homage to the the stars on the Australian flag, and featured design elements reflecting Feng Shui principles.
Upon submitting the initial design proposal, Katsalidis was “completely confident” that the $600 million mixed use (hotel and residential) development would go ahead. The Victorian Government expected the project to create 300 job opportunities across the construction and hospitality fields.
“Buildings like this change cities, they make the city more dynamic, more interesting, more exciting,” Katsalidis said when the project gained approval.
Katsalidis is also the architect behind Eureka, a building that did change Melbourne’s skyline. That building currently stands as Australia’s second tallest building at 297 metres.
Despite the drawbacks faced and the recent news of the site’s sale, Katsalidis said he remains confident the project will still go ahead and his company will still do the architecture work.
A redesign for Australia 108 is expected to be revealed early this year.