Mirvac wins Treasury Square project as locals left out of consultation
Property developer Mirvac has reportedly been awarded a contract to develop a contentious site known as Treasury Square at the CBD’s edge.
The 1.4-hectare VicTrack-owned site, which is located at the southern end of Flinders St next to the rail corridor, has been met with community concern in recent years due to little public consultation being conducted and the site not having urban design controls.
In January 2020, following the expression of interest (EOI) process, CBUS Property, Mirvac, Dexus/John Holland, and Brookfield Property had been shortlisted to advance to stage two of the sale process to request proposals.
CBUS Property and Mirvac were selected as the two preferred bidders in May. However, VicTrack did not confirm Mirvac had recently been chosen as the preferred developer, despite media reports from anonymous sources close to the project suggesting otherwise.
Instead, a VicTrack spokesperson said as development was proposed to take place above a busy rail corridor, “there are a range of complex technical issues being resolved as part of the design process”.
“We continue to work with the preferred bidder and our transport partners to develop this prime site into a new commercial and residential precinct,” the spokesperson said.
Conceptual renders produced as part of the EOI process show three towers on the land spanning Flinders Street railyard to Wellington Parade South.
Under the plans, the rail lines east of the Russell St Extension to Batman Avenue would be decked over to form what could be Federation Square East. A new pedestrian and cycle link between the city, parks and the Yarra River has also been proposed.
However, Mirvac would have freedom when it comes to what to build on the site, which, in November 2021, prompted City of Melbourne Cr Rohan Leppert to request that the then Minister for Planning Richard Wynne urgently apply design controls to Treasury Square.
According to VicTrack as the site had been rezoned to enable the development, “any final design is subject to approval by the relevant planning authorities which will take into account existing planning controls, including protecting the Yarra River and Birrarung Marr from overshadowing”.
“Some changes to the original scheme presented will be required as further technical assessments of the site continue and planning conditions are applied, however it is still intended to be a landmark development,” it said.
“While COVID-19 has had an impact on the Melbourne CBD property market, this is a highly sought-after site and will be one of the few above rail developments in Melbourne.” •
East Enders residents’ group president Dr Stan Capp said as the site was an iconic entrance to the CBD, “a comprehensive community engagement process is essential to bring the community on the journey so the final design can be lauded by all”.