Some surprises from the Planning Minister

The month of October saw a few surprise approvals from within the department of Planning Minister Richard Wynne, with the most notable being that of Fragrance Group’s 555 Collins St proposal. 

Singaporean outfit Fragrance Group has managed to gain approval for a 147m residential tower at 555 Collins St which would comprise 625 apartments and a retail plaza at ground level that connects to the adjacent 567 Collins St retail laneway. The development would have a floor area ratio/plot ratio of 1:24, which is significantly more than the requirements of Planning Scheme Amendment C270 but in line with the interim controls of C262.

Long after notions of a 400 metre commercial tower and, in the wake of Fragrance Group’s early ambitions for a 300 metre mixed-use monolith on the site, the revised Bates Smart-designed residential scheme has been given the green light by Mr Wynne. This process of approval has taken place in conjunction with the site being offered for sale.

After failing to win approval for its initial scheme, Fragrance Group appointed Knight Frank in the early stages of 2016 as handling agent for what still is currently a vacant office tower with prime Collins St frontage, known as Enterprise House.

The initial Bates Smart-designed tower for the site sought approval for 1020 apartments, 11,280sqm office space and 300 hotel rooms over 91 levels.

Another project to receive a favourable decision from the minister is 140 King St, a 58-storey, 188m residential tower designed by Rothelowman for Besgate Group. The glazed black tower is inspired by a luxury watch, or more specifically, a solid link wrist band.

Arranged in an interwoven pattern, 140 King St’s continuous facade is designed to provide a unified and formal response to the site’s surrounds. The tower will accommodate 271 apartments within a tapering form and is welcome news for Besgate after its 86-storey tower at 640 Bourke St stalled following unanimous derision from City of Melbourne due to height and lack of adequate setbacks. It is believed 640 Bourke St is undergoing redesign to address council’s concerns.

In other news, Tong Eng Group has shown firm intentions regarding its tower at 111-125 A’Beckett St which it has christened Myriad Melbourne. The Singaporean developer’s first Australian foray, Myriad has yet to receive the sign-off from the Planning Minister. It seems that once it does, sales won’t be too far behind.

And finally, Aurumstone Group has been revealed as the purchaser of 295-309 King St. CBRE City Sales successfully negotiated terms for the 1292sqm site, which also has approval for a Plus Architecture-designed 66 level residential tower.

While Aurumstone is pursuing a hefty 60-level skyscraper in New York, 295-309 King St is a significant step up for the developer whose projects across Melbourne to date have been relatively modest.

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