Gathering speed

Alastair Taylor

In mid-March it was announced that Kuala Lumpur-based developer UEM Sunrise had chosen Probuild as its preferred builder for Aurora Melbourne Central.

The development will consist of 940 residential units, about 250 serviced apartments, a direct link to Melbourne Central Station and retail/office components through the podium levels.

Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, UEM Sunrise CEO, Mr Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib, said: “For the next three months there will be detailed contract negotiations with Probuild on design refinements, contract costs and contract details.”

The Elenberg Fraser-designed building will stand 270 metres above LaTrobe St and the development is reportedly near 100 per cent sold with construction completion due in 2019.

The Urban Melbourne biannual crane count of the metropolitan area was published in March and for the CBD there are currently 16 in use.  Excluding one commercial development, all cranes are operating on residential sites – and this figure is expected to increase in six months with more projects expected to start.

Collins House, a 57-level residential proposal located at 464-466 Collins St has this month crept back up onto the development radar with the announcement of a refined proposal and a joint venture between Asian Pacific Group and Golden Age Group.

First revealed in planning application documents in September 2013, the “pencil” skyscraper has had its format refined to include 263 units.

Given the tower’s tiny width of 11 metres and height of 195 metres, a unique structural engineering format, first used in the smaller Phoenix Apartments on Flinders St, is expected to be used during construction.  Construction is expected to be complete on Collins House by 2018.

The City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee recently met to consider the planning application for Mirvac’s 40-level commercial tower at 477 Collins Street.

The committee resolved to notify the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning of its support for the Grimshaw-designed tower, subject to minor stipulations. The office tower is expected to have a net leasable area of 54,000 sqm, 409 tenant car parks and about 500 bicycle spaces plus end-of-trip facilities for employees.

The West End of Collins St is quite literally all the rage at present with a multitude of developments progressing.  568 Collins St, a Bruce Henderson-designed 224 m residential tower has topped out and across the road at 567 Collins St, an office tower designed by Cox Architecture/Spowers is nearing completion.

At 555 Collins St – on the intersection with King Street – a newer, shorter, planning application was lodged by the Singapore-based Fragrance Group in September 2014 and the details of which came to light in March.

Earlier thoughts of a 400 m commercial tower which drew criticism for overshadowing of the Yarra have made way for a more modest scheme seeking approval for a 300 m mixed-use tower.

In total, the planning application will have 91 levels with six dedicated to commercial/office, a 15-level hotel plus 60 levels of residential units – that equates to 11,280 sqm of office space, 300 hotel rooms and 1020 apartments.

Alastair Taylor is a director of Urban Melbourne

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