Yuncken Freeman site to be demolished

By Meg Hill

A building designed by world famous architecture firm Yuncken Freeman has been given a demolition green light by the council just months after gaining heritage protection.

140 Queen St was given heritage protection in August when the Hardware and Guildford Laneways Heritage Amendment was passed by the state government. 

Cbus Australia had submitted a new planning application, that included demolition of the building, for a $1 billion combined site at 140 Queen St, 150 Queen St, 423 Bourke St and 27 McKillop St just days before the amendment was passed.

The amendment would have blocked the demolition, but Cbus's engineers were subsequently supported by both the state government and the City of Melbourne in the conclusion that 140 Queen St had been allowed to deteriorate beyond salvation.

City of Melbourne chair of heritage Rohan Leppert said the situation was unfortunate.

“Making heritage reviews and progressing them through the planning scheme as planning amendments is like pulling teeth,” he said.

“C271 has applied to new permanent controls to one of the buildings in question here and that was a laborious process.”

“It is very unfortunate that just a couple of months after permanent controls were gazetted for one of the buildings in the project site, we are advising the Department of Land, Water and Planning that we would support the demolition of that building.”

“We should only do so with very, very good reasons, and I think we do have those reasons, but at the same time it is massively disappointing that we have to do that.”

The building was considered unsafe due to its damaged façade, which was also said to be beyond restoration.

The development plans have “revitalised and reinterpreted” the façade with the intent of “reinterpretation of the cellular and masonry character”.

The $1 billion development will include a 49-storey tower for mixed-use and a wellbeing hub.

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