Queen Vic Market tower gets green light

Brendan Rees

A 21-storey tower in the Queen Victoria Market precinct will go-ahead after plans were approved by the Minister for Planning.

The $150 million development at 432-450 Queen St will consist of 129 apartments including 13 affordable rental apartments as well as a roof terrace, and two levels of shops.

The development was endorsed by the City of Melbourne in June last year, with Minister for Planning Richard Wynne giving the project the nod on December 19.

Located at the corner of Queen and Franklin streets and next to the Munro development, the tower is proposed to stand at 67 metres high – with the plan requiring no changes.

The project’s green light paves the way for works to begin in the second half of this year. 

The approval comes despite the Bates Smart-designed project requiring demolition of two heritage buildings, while a third building, considered to be of higher heritage value, would be largely retained. 

However, conditions were included on the planning permit requiring amendments to the plans to show further retention of existing buildings, increased setbacks of the tower, and internal alterations. 

Developer Golden Age said it would respect the site’s historical context, with the approved plans to see the existing Queen Victoria building at the site to be carefully restored and integrated into the development.

The proposal raised concerns among residents and heritage advocates last year, arguing it would overshadow their homes and any demolition would set a dangerous precedent for the city.

Resident David Legge said he believed the scale of the development was negative to the market precinct and “definitely diminishes the quality of life for existing residents”.

“We are living through a social experiment that is sure to be judged as misguided in the future,” he said.

Friends of Queen Victoria Market president Mary-Lou Howie said the development should have a “buffer zone to protect the environment of the market”.

“This is the problem with having a precinct masterplan rather than a discreet QVM masterplan which would inform the planning decisions around the market,” she said.

Golden Age Founder and managing director Jeff Xu said his team was “excited to develop a project that will further contribute to this ever-evolving pocket of the city”.

“Receiving approval is a reflection of the level of confidence the state government has in us as co-developers of this city,” he said. 

Bates Smart director Julian Anderson said the project was designed for the market community, visitors, and residents by providing engaging spaces. 

“We have taken great care in designing an enduring and well-crafted addition to this neighbourhood, respecting the site’s historical context while being mindful that this development will have a role in shaping the future character of an evolving and diverse urban fabric,” he said.

The state government said the proposal was an “appropriate response” to the higher built form of the Hoddle Grid to the south and the lower built form of the Queen Victoria Market precinct •

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