Fortis Adds $90m Tower Plan to Melbourne Pipeline


Sydney-based developer Fortis’ burgeoning Melbourne pipeline has expanded with plans for a $90-million mixed-use development in Richmond now before the council.

Fortis paid $19 million for the 1300sq m corner site at 8 Brighton Street, on the intersection of Church and Swan streets, in late 2020.

At the time, Fortis director Charles Mellick said the developer remained “confident” about city-fringe locations and was positive that the demand for office space would continue to accelerate in Melbourne, post-pandemic.

Its latest application, a mix of commercial and residential, has reaffirmed that confidence.

Fortis’ proposed 13-storey development, designed by SJB Architects, will comprise 70 apartments above 2100sq m of office space.

The mixed-use building will also offer 400sq m of ground floor retail for a cafe or restaurant above four levels of basement parking for 100 cars and 80 bicycles.

▲ The corner site will hold three street frontages. Image: SJB Architects

Despite the recent hit to Melbourne’s office sector, Richmond remains one of a number of more affordable inner-suburban office markets, alongside Cremorne, Collingwood and South Yarra.

Before the pandemic the suburb attracted a fresh wave of speculative commercial development as CBD rents soared and vacancy rates hit record lows.

At a neighbouring site, 1 Little Lesney Street, developer Little Projects has plans for 300-apartments within a 10-storey building.

In Swan Street, plans are before the council for a six-storey building at 223, and for an eight-storey building at 300-304 Swan Street.

Fortis, ​​the development arm of boutique fund manager Pallas Capital, has made a concerted push into Melbourne in recent years with more than $1 billion in projects currently under construction or in planning.

Its application in Richmond comes less than a week after the developer lodged plans for a $65-million commercial building at a site it picked up for $5 million in South Melbourne.

Nearby, at 67-69 Palmerston Crescent, the developer is also building a $38-million, nine-level office project on a site it acquired earlier this year for $8.55 million.

Meanwhile, on Thomson Street, plans for a six-level office building, with an expected end value of $27.5 million, are well advanced.

Fortis is also pushing ahead with a $47-million, seven-level, 3900sq m office building at 34 Eastern Road, a site it paid $12 million for in July.

In Cremorne, the developer has mooted plans to commence construction on a $40-million new build later this year on a 1850sq m site at 65-81 Dover Street that cost it $26.9 million.

It will have eight floors of office space, retail on the ground floor and will an end value of about $130 million.


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