Melbourne’s Iconic New ‘Pantscraper’ Project To Hit Stride After Height Approval

A landmark dual skyscraper project on Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD has finally received the green light from the Victorian Government after reaching agreement on a reduced height level.

The $1.25 billion development by Cbus Property at 447 Collins Street has been dubbed the ‘Pantscraper’ because its twin tower design with connecting sky bridge resembles a pair of pants, and shares a likeness with the famous CCTV ‘Big Pants’ tower in Beijing, China.

Designed by Australia’s Woods Bagot and New York-based SHoP Architects, the striking 447 Collins Street project occupies a full Melbourne CBD block bounded by Collins, Williams and Market Streets and Flinders Lane.

The proposed mixed-use project on the prized inner-city site of approximately 6,000sq m has office, residential, hotel, retail and public space components. It is designed to deliver a new world-class, fully-integrated development and modern architectural statement in the heart of Melbourne, as well as provide new levels of connectivity between the Melbourne CBD and the Yarra River and South Bank.

However, the project has been dogged by concerns over its height and the shadow it could cast over the southern bank of the Yarra River. The original proposal for a 295-metre, 100-level height development was rejected by the Victorian Government in 2014, and revised plans for a 165-metre, 47-level height project were submitted last year.

Following continued negotiations, Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has this month reached an agreement with the developer to accept a further height reduction of 21.6 metres, or six levels, “to reduce overshadowing over the Yarra River”. Mr Wynne said the Victorian Government supports inner-city Melbourne development of quality design which contributes to the liveability of the city, while protecting the amenity of the Yarra River.

He said the developer will now submit amended plans for the 447 Collins Street development before a planning permit is granted.

“This project takes in an entire city block and we have taken the time to make sure we provide for a future landmark on Collins Street,” Mr Wynne said.

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