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Queensbridge Tower a step closer

12 Nov 2015

Queensbridge Tower a step closer Image

Crown Resorts, in conjunction with their joint venture partner Schiavello Group, announced the winning architect last month for the controversial Queensbridge Tower proposal in Southbank.

Award winning British architects Wilkinson Eyre won a global contest to design the 90-storey proposal, which now awaits approval from Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

If approved, the proposed $1.5 billion project, located at 1 Queensbridge St, would top out at 317 metres to become Melbourne’s second tallest building to Australia 108 (319m), which commenced construction last month.

The building would comprise a 388 room, luxury six-star hotel, 680 apartments and ground floor restaurants and retail outlets.

The proposal is Crown and Schiavello’s third for the site, after former planning minister Matthew Guy had first granted a permit for a 71-storey development in 2012, but forced the developer to withdraw the proposal.

Freshwater Place residents had raised concerns because the building was only 10m away from their walls and measuring more than 100m higher than recommended planning guidelines.

The group resubmitted an amended application last year for a taller 82-storey proposal, which was again withdrawn and replaced by this latest proposal.

Also the subject of much scrutiny is the developer’s proposed air-walk bridge, which would create a walkway over Queensbridge St connecting the tower to the existing Crown complex.

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley last year described the idea as “a bridge too far” and said that it needed to be ruled out entirely.

While having recently introduced interim height controls for the CBD and Southbank, Minister Wynne has discretion to approve projects above those levels if they are of “state significance.”

Crown Resorts executive director James Packer said that the tower, coupled with the recently announced expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, would reinforce Southbank as Victoria’s leading tourism destination.  
“Wilkinson Eyre has designed a beautiful and elegant building that is destined to be an important addition to the Melbourne skyline,” Mr Packer said.

“A new hotel is the next evolution of Crown Melbourne. I am committed to this city and committed to keeping Crown Melbourne at the forefront of Australian tourism.”

Schiavello Group chairman Tony Schiavello said they had wanted to “create a place where people could call home”.

“It was a very competitive design process, with some of the world’s and region’s best known architects involved,” he said.

“This site deserves a truly special building and our vision is to create a landmark building that had international appeal, timeless form and design.”

In addition to the proposed tower, Crown and Schiavello have also proposed a major upgrade to Queensbridge Square.

Interestingly, the proposal doesn’t incorporate the new Cafenatics coffee shop, which the City of Melbourne approved for construction at the square in March this year.

While pleased that the plan didn’t include the controversial new structure, Freshwater Place OC chair Peter Renner said it was unlikely Crown knew about the plans at all.

A spokesperson for the City of Melbourne said while it wasn’t able comment on a proposal that it was yet to consider, it had entered into a lease with Cafenatics.

“Council is yet to receive or consider the proposal announced by Crown Resorts Limited,” the spokesperson said.

“As manager of the Crown Land reserve at Queensbridge Square, council agreed to enter into a lease in 2011 with the cafe operator.”

Cafenatics owner Joseph Haddad didn’t respond when contacted by Southbank Local News.

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