Councillors in love

Melbourne councillors have been smitten with admiration and praise for a proposed new apartment building on the site of the Mercure Hotel in Spring St.

At the August 7 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, they were gushing in their praise for the proposed 125m, 34-storey luxury apartment building.

Planning chair Nicholas Reece said: “This is an exemplary example of the city working with developers.”

“This development is an absolutely outstanding outcome. In my two years on the council, this rates near the top.”

He said to Cbus chief executive Adrian Pozzo: “With what you’ve done up at 35 Spring St, it now makes that Flinders St / Spring St corner of the city something that is just absolutely terrific and will look great on postcards.”

The proposed Cbus development has been designed by Bates Smart and comprises 84 apartments, with more than half of them having three bedrooms or more.

The break down is:  one-bedroom: six (7 per cent); two-bedroom: 24 (29 per cent); three-bedroom: 49 (58 per cent); and four-bedroom: five (6 per cent).

Councillors were so enamoured with the proposal, that they willingly turned a blind eye to a massive number of car spaces to service the 84 apartments.  Normally, a developer could expect to be granted a maximum of one space, per apartment, with encouragement given for fewer spaces.

Cr Rohan Leppert said: “I think the variation from the requirement of 84 car parks up to 148 is very, very generous.”

However, Cr Leppert predicted many of the spaces would remain unused.

“I note that there are many, many three and four-bedroom apartments in this tower and that is wonderful to see,” he said.

“I’m not sure they’re all going to attract families.  I’m quite sure they’re going to attract a lot of wealthy individuals and couples who probably won’t all need the second or third car park spot.”

The development, to be known as 17 Spring St, comes in just under the 18:1 floor area ratio threshold where community benefit payment would be required from the developer.  Cbus has constrained the development to a floor area ratio of 17.9:1.

Cr Leppert said: “No other city in the world would let you get away with this, but they’re the rules, so well done.”

Councillors voted unanimously to recommend support for proposal to Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

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