With the prospective 388-metre Australia 108 tower being scaled back, a new skyscraper project at 250 Spencer Street is pursing the title of Melbourne’s tallest building.
Four towers stretching between 205 and 300 metres – and up to 93 levels – have been proposed at the site that formerly housed the headquarters of The Age newspaper.
International property developers, Far East Consortium acquired the majority of the 1.1-hectare block site from ISPT in June this year with the remainder owned by Central Equity.
If it goes ahead, the tallest of the towers would surpass Melbourne’s current tallest skyscraper, the 297-metre Eureka building situated at Southbank. The project has a rumoured price tag of $1 billion and is set to be the largest inner city development in Melbourne to date.
Other prospective projects include a redesign of an original $800 million master plan located on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale Street in the CBD’s west. It was approved earlier this year by planning minister Matthew Guy.
Initially, six towers spanning 39 and 63 storeys (140 to 220 metres), set to house 3,000 apartments, were designed by Bates Smart for the site.
“The development of this strategic site will be critical to the future reshaping of the CBD’s western edge and its connection to Docklands,” Guy said at the time of the approval. “The proposal will provide housing choices close to jobs, public transport and other essential services adding to Melbourne’s vibrant lifestyle.”
Following the sale of this site to Far East Consortium, Australian architecture firm Cottee Parker was commissioned to redesign the mixed-use project, which is set to house 2,853 residential units, a food court, restaurant, 30 retail outlets and fitness facilities.
It is also believed the project will feature a tower on podium design, a popular new design among architects around the world. The project also reflects taller, more slender towers compared to the initial design, though the building will have the capacity to feature a similar number of units.
250 Spencer Street’s high-rise design also reflects a growing global trend of skinny skyscrapers that employ height rather than width in cities where space is scarce.
While Manhattan is at the forefront of developing slender skyscrapers, Melbourne could soon hold the “thinnest” title if Fender Katsalidis’ vision for the Phoenix tower comes to fruition. While the 27-storey residential tower is set to rise 88 metres, it will span a mere six metres.
As with most slender skyscrapers, Phoenix aims to “achieve views from significant heights without imposing on the streetscape or the neighboring buildings through bulk or shadow” according to Fender Katsalidis.
In the meantime, while developers seek approval for 250 Spencer Street, Cottee Parker is also working on the nearby anticipated Upper West Side Melbourne project, which is 100 per cent owned by Far East Consortium.
Upper West Side will be built on the site of a former Lonsdale Street Power Station and also feature four towers reaching a more modest 30 to 50 stories.
The 97,000 square metre project has drawn global attention for its promise to offer one of the largest green roofs in Melbourne’s CBD, spanning almost one acre.
Melbourne’s skyline continues to reach new skyscraping heights with waterfront locations of Southbank and Docklands the most desired high-rise locations.
According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the city currently has six proposed buildings of over 200 metres and three others currently under construction, all of which have a residential or mixed-residential component.