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Tea tower lowered

12 Oct 2017

Tea tower lowered Image

By Chelsea Cucinotta

The developer of a controversial development proposal next to Southbank’s historic Tea House building has submitted an amended application for a 25-storey tower.

The City of Melbourne received a planning permit application from developer RJ International (Aust) Pty Ltd on September 27 for the site adjoining the heritage listed Robur Tea House at 28-34 Clarendon St.

While the 1887 Tea House itself is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, its southern lift shaft is not, and would be removed if this development were to proceed.

Having originally submitted plans to the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne for a 39-storey hotel, as reported by Southbank Local News in May, the developer’s reduced proposal now falls to the City of Melbourne as the responsible planning authority.

The original $105 million development would have included 38 residencies on upper levels and 312 hotel rooms on the first 23 floors, in addition to ground floor space.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson, the most recent amendments include “reducing the height of the proposed hotel building to 86 metres”. The application has scrapped the 38 residential apartments and now proposes 317 hotel rooms.

Despite the reduction, local residents still believe that the new development will dominate the Tea House.

Southbank Residents’ Association president Tony Penna said the reduction in height would “hardly make a difference”.

“It will still be larger than the Tea House and therefore dominate the built form. While we welcome any reduction, this is still about preserving the heritage character of the Tea House and this reduction does not achieve that,” he said.

“We have very little heritage remaining in Southbank and what we do have needs to be protected.”

Melbourne Heritage Action (MHA) president Tristan Davies said: “We are concerned that even with this reduction the development will still overshadow the Tea House and obscure its southern facade, it might be a better compromise though.”

 

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