Council Won’t Support Southbank Supertall Skyscraper


Plans for a 52-storey office tower in Southbank will not be supported by the Future Melbourne Committee despite an earlier approval on the site.

The $309-million development by M&L Hospitality is nearly 60m under the height of the Ultimus Tower design for the site at 21-35 Power Street next to Southbank by Beulah.

The 3100sq m site across three titles was approved for a 75-storey mixed-use development, with office, retail, 390 hotel rooms and 496 apartments, at 273 metres.

This compares to the latest design by Grimshaw architects for a 52-storey building, with retail on the ground floor and office space above, which would eventually measure 215 metres.

Three renders by Grimshaw architects for the site next to Hanover House which is now part of the Southbank by Beulah site.
▲ The latest renders by Grimshaw architects for the site next to Hanover House which is now part of the Southbank by Beulah site.

The council decided to advise the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that it did not support the development due to built form requirements.

Deputy lord mayor Nicholas Reece said he had agonised over the application because the council wanted to see new buildings in the city and had encouraged the applicant to make amendments.

“We’ve now got a building before us that is shorter, but it is wider,” he said.

“The key issues ... of this new application go to the setbacks that are part of the new design and also the activation of the building at ground level.

“When you’re talking about towers that are in excess of 200m, those setbacks are very important, it’s important these really tall towers make space for each other to breathe.

Related: Beulah Lodges Plans for $2bn Southbank Skyscraper

A proposed tower on Power Street in Southbank has a glittery design and angled facade.
▲The original Ultimus Tower design on Power Street in Melbourne was designed by Andrew Norbury of Metier 3.

“That is particularly true when you’re talking about a really densely built part of our city, in fact, the most densely built part of Melbourne and I believe Australia.

“When you’re talking about a 5m setback, that is extremely tight.”

SJB planners James Goulding said they were disappointed with the recommendation, on behalf of the developer.

The decision is now with the planning minister, however, the council said it would request the inclusion of changes to the design.

There is a long history of proposed developments on the site with the previous application dating back to 2013.

This was well before plans for Australia’s future tallest tower by Beulah, which just recently incorporated the neighbouring Hanover House site.

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