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“Exceptional” office building approved

10 Jul 2019

“Exceptional” office building approved Image

By David Schout

City of Port Phillip councillors have given the green light to a seven-storey commercial development on the corner of City Rd and Ferrars St, despite the matter being referred to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

On a unique parcel of land, councillors paid tribute to the design of the proposed development, which was originally designed as a 10-storey residential building.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Simon Gilbertson from Contour Town Planners said the development offered a point of difference for the area.

“When I look at the expression of masonry rather than the typical glazed boxes we see in the other parts of town, I think this will really set the bar for other developments in the area,” he said.

Similarly, council planning chair David Brand paid tribute to the development’s “exceptional architectural qualities”.

However, not all aspects of the plan have been embraced by the council.

One sticking point at a recent meeting was plans for the development’s eastern side, which back directly onto light rail tracks, to include little to no windows.

The owner of the land, VicTrack, reportedly did not want windows, terraces or openings directly on the boundary of the rail corridor, due to fears of items being thrown onto the tracks and other infrastructure issues.

But Cr Brand said a seven-storey “wall” was far from ideal.

“I think that the city should be unhappy with another authority insisting that a seven-storey edifice in this city should be virtually windowless,” he said.

“I think it’s a bad precedent to set to just say there should be no windows on the boundary of a railway reserve. And it’s certainly in the interest of this city to make this as presentable a building as possible.”

The clause was removed after a council vote.

The development will go before VCAT this month for a compulsory conference due to council not deciding on the application within the prescribed time limit of 60 days.

 

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