New towers take form

August has been one of the more quiet months in terms of planning applications in Melbourne, yet construction continues on a number of large scale apartment developments at a steady pace, with a concentration of buildings in the north CBD quadrant, centred in and around Elizabeth St, beginning to rise out of the ground.

 The likes of Empire, Victoria One, Lighthouse, Eq Tower and Eporo Tower will begin to take their place on the Melbourne skyline in the coming months, while Vision looks to surpass its neighbour Zen on its way to its final height of 226m. All up these projects will deliver over 3000 apartments.

Still in the north, the Queen Victoria Market Renewal project looks to be gaining momentum with a master plan approved by the City of Melbourne.

In parallel to this, the council is seeking expressions of interest from both consortia and individual companies to redevelop the Munro site on the corner of Queen and Therry streets. The development is expected to include a 720 space customer car park, specialty retail and hospitality spaces, community facilities including a childcare centre and family hub, a mid-block link between Franklin St and Therry St and affordable housing.

Hengyi Australia’s Swanston Central designed by Elenberg Fraser on the former Carlton Brewery site at the corner of Victoria and Bouverie streets is set to officially launch to market this month.

The 72-storey crystalline tower will rise 237m above the old bluestone malt-store facade and accommodate 1035 dwellings.

The tower will feature a predominantly silver-glazed facade with strips of green and purple glazing, adding to the colour already present within Pixel, Swanston Square and the under-construction Bouverie Apartments.

The Beyonce-inspired Premier Tower on Spencer St appears to be heading to VCAT to gain approval for an increase in height to 78-storeys which would see it penetrate the Obstacle Limitation Surface requiring approval from civil aviation authorities to do so.

Other projects requiring similar approval include the dual tower scheme for 350 Queen St, 640 Bourke St and the 80-storey Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 250 Spencer St as part of the West Side Place development which recently had its display suite lifted into place on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale streets.

An application for a 150m tower on Russell St appears to have gone back to the drawing board.

The slim tower at 14-22 Russell Street was proposed at a height of 42-storeys / 156m with a strong vertical articulation and tapering form, reminiscent of the late ’80s-early ’90s post-modern office towers of North America.

A reduction in height and improved street interface appear likely. In Melbourne metro news, it was recently announced that tunnelling using tunnel boring machines (TBMs) has been selected as the preferred method of construction for the section of the project where the tunnels must pass under the Yarra River.

Other methods considered include an “immersed tube” and a cofferdam construction method.

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