Slender “magic” tower to soar above Melbourne

By Emma Doherty 

Australia’s tallest tower could grace the CBD skyline courtesy of the Royal Society of Victoria.

The super slender tower dubbed “Magic” is promising to revitalise Melbourne’s 159-year-old science hub, on the small parcel of land bounded by Exhibition, LaTrobe and Victoria streets.

If planning is approved for the 60-storey tower, which will stand at 330 metres high, it will become Australia’s tallest building.

The Royal Society of Victoria hopes the residential tower will enable it to continue investing in science and technology.

Society CEO Mike Flattley said it had proposed the tower idea as the most profitable way of raising funds.

“We are a very small organisation and we don’t have the funds to capitalise on that site ourselves. So the only way we can do anything on the site is if we raise funds through the building itself,” Mr Flattley said.

Working alongside builder Grocon, the society intends the building to lead the way in construction and technology innovation. This is imperative in supporting its the aims.

“The importance of the tower being in itself innovative, and having the latest technology to return sustainability features for a very tall tower in Melbourne is because it needs to symbolise what the Royal Society is here to do, which is to resource Victoria with the latest science, technology and ingenuity and wherever possible, use Victorian science, innovation and ingenuity in conducting any particular project,” Mr Flattely said.

For construction to go ahead, the site will be approved for the heritage permit and it also needs to be assessed against the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

The site is heritage listed due to its historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria and, according to plans, will remain untouched. However, the relevant issue will be whether it can be approved under a landscape exemption. Heritage Council of Victoria records show landscaping exemptions for the site are limited to surrounding trees and vegetation, the adjacent carport and surrounding fence.

The site falls just outside of the CBD’s planning scheme and doesn’t have National Heritage listing, under which it may have been protected under the EPBC Act.

Mr Flattely said it would take "some time" to achieve planning approval for the tower.

He  said: “It will be some time. This is a very difficult project and difficult proposition so at the moment, this is very much a proposal and something we are taking to our membership and also letting the general public know that we are pursuing the opportunity, but are going to need the support of every level of government in Australia to see it through.”

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