In case you missed it yesterday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the construction approval of what will be Melbourne’s tallest building.
Crown Resorts yesterday won government approval to add a colossal 90-storey skyscraper to its hotel and casino complex in Southbank.
At 323 metres high, One Queensbridge Street will dwarf the Eureka tower by 26 metres and beat out the planned Australia 108 skyscraper – also in Southbank – by three metres. Australia’s current tallest building, Gold Coast’s Q1 – which stands at 322.5 metres – will be inched out of the top spot once the new tower opens.
The new tower will house 388 hotel rooms and 708 apartments, as well as retail and dining spaces, but no gambling facilities.
Premier Andrews says the project will create up to 4000 jobs – 3000 in construction and a further 1000 once the building is open for business – and will result in a “bold transformation of Melbourne’s skyline”.
Construction on the 5000-square-metre site is expected to begin in 2018 and will take about five or six years to complete.
The project’s approval hinged on a commitment to improve the precinct’s public spaces, so Crown is chipping in $100 million to improve Queensbridge Square – including landscaping, outdoor furniture, two new cafes, and a new bike strip – and Sandridge rail bridge. The $15 million plan for Sandridge is to turn the area into something resembling the High Line park in Manhattan.
"But it's not just about height though,” Andrews says. “The quality of this design outcome, particularly the public realm benefits, the benefits that will be accessible for all Victorians, really mark this out as a very special project.”
“The top of the building, the really extraordinary bit, will be a public facility,” says Paul Baker of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the London-based firm designing the tower. “It will be open to everybody, and will include restaurants and function spaces, bars and a garden.”
The idea, he says, is to make “living, working and playing all in one area, a reality”.
There’s already been criticism about the approval process for the project. In 2015, a similar project on the same footprint as the proposed tower, which would have risen only 82 storeys, was knocked back by the Victorian Planning Department based on a “range of concerns”.
The tower’s future neighbours at high-end residential building Freshwater Place, which will stand only 13 metres away from the new building, have expressed concern about their loss of views across the Yarra and city, as well as living next to a massive, long-term construction site.