Development on Yarra River’s North Bank Sails On


The revitalisation of the historic goods shed beside Melbourne’s Yarra River will become the centre of a $500 million hotel and apartment project, with its developer still targeting a 2023 completion date despite Covid-19 restrictions.

Work has started on the mixed-use riverside project in the Melbourne CBD, known as Seafarers, helmed by private developer Riverlee.

Heritage restoration works have commenced on the northern bank of the Yarra River site, with civil works to be completed in early 2021.

Restoration work on the historic Goods Shed No.5 is currently under way, with elements such as the roof trusses, doors and windows to be taken off-site for remediation and returned during the project’s construction phase.

▲ Plans for the new Docklands park Seafarers Rest, backed by Riverlee, the City of Melbourne and state Department of Treasury and Finance.
▲ Plans for the new Docklands park, Seafarers Rest, backed by Riverlee, the City of Melbourne and state Department of Treasury and Finance. Image: Oculus Landscape Architecture

The development has been touted as the “missing link” between Melbourne’s CBD, Docklands and the Yarra Promenade.

Riverlee, founded by Malaysian-Australian architect Clement Lee, and led by son David Lee as the company’s development director, received approval for the mixed-use project in late 2018.

The precinct will be home to Australia’s first 1 Hotel comprising 277 guest rooms, along with 123 luxury dwellings. Riverlee was yet to confirm sales data for the residential project at time of publication.

Construction is scheduled to commence early next year, with completion pegged for 2023.

Riverlee purchased the site, which was originally state-owned land, for $28.5 million in 2015.

Its initial concept was to build a commercial office tower for the site, before moving ahead with its hotel and apartment plans.

Development director David Lee said the development site, known as a neglected part of the Yarra River’s north bank, has remained dormant for more than 40 years.

The wider project includes the creation of a $5 million park with a maritime theme, a venture between the developer, the City of Melbourne and the state Department of Treasury and Finance.

In August, Riverlee secured rezoning approval for a 51-hectare site in Epping, about 20 kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD.

Plans for the former Epping quarry site, located at 215 Cooper Street, include the construction of 2,000 new dwellings, a hospital, childcare centre and 80,000sq m of commercial space during the next 10 to 15 years, as part of the developer’s $2 billion development plans for the precinct.

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