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Montague is about to transform

06 Oct 2020

Montague is about to transform Image

By Meg Hill and Sean Car

The Montague precinct of Fishermans Bend has had a mammoth amount of development moving through its pipeline, and it’s recently begun to speed up.

While the rollout of the state government’s renewed vision in the remainder of Australia’s largest urban renewal precinct continues at a slower pace largely due to a lack of public transport, Montague, wedged between South Melbourne and the city, is ready to go.

Serviced by two tramlines and supported by the early delivery of a new primary school and Kirip Park, the precinct has been the subject of a flurry of mixed-use residential apartment projects in recent years and that momentum has continued.

Planning expert Meredith Sussex, who has been on the Fishermans Bend journey since 2014, was reappointed as chair of the Fishermans Bend Development Board by the state government on October 1.

Ms Sussex originally led the state government’s ministerial advisory committee, a process which culminated in the release of a new vision and planning controls for the four residential precincts and the employment precinct in 2018.

She was appointed as the board’s inaugural chair soon after and she, along with its other five members who all are charged with leading the vision for 80,000 new residents and 80,000 new works in the area by 2050, received another term this month.

Ms Sussex said she looked forward to continuing the board’s work “including its contribution to Victoria’s economic recovery from coronavirus”.

“The recent announcement of permits for Fishermans Bend projects is a strong signal to industry of the government’s commitment to the vision for the precinct,” she said.

Speaking to Southbank News in March, Ms Sussex said development in Montague was “going gangbusters” and on September 9, two further approvals were announced by Minister for Planning Richard Wynne on Montague St and Normanby Rd.

However, the Montague community continues to await the release of the finished precinct plans, which as reported in the July edition of Southbank News, are being held back until after the October council elections.

While it waits to see how all the development would be knitted together under the plans, Montague Community Alliance convenor Trisha Avery said the community was looking forward to seeing how developers communicated with existing residents and businesses.

“For us it’s interesting to see how developers reach out to the community and work with them, because it will be a couple of years of development happening here,” she said.

“It’s really about the community. The most important thing we focus on is how the developers work with the existing community, the disruption to the existing community, which is now around 1000 people, and how we all work and live together.”

Completed projects in Montague include the high-rise Gravity Tower on the corner of Gladstone and Montague streets, Beulah International’s Habitus Townhouses at 10-16 Boundary St and BPM’s Nightfall on Gladstone St. Smaller commercial projects at 508-510 City Rd and 144-148 Ferrars St have also been recently completed.

As for what’s to come, here’s a snapshot of the current state of play …

Current applications

Applications submitted and currently undergoing assessment include five applications on Normanby Rd:

  • 272-280 Normanby Rd: 30-storey tower
  • 264-270 Normanby Rd: 20-storey tower
  • 256-262 Normanby Rd: 20-storey tower
  • 248-254 Normanby Rd: 20-storey tower
  • 240-246 Normanby Rd: 34-storey tower

Approvals

As previously mentioned, two new approvals were announced on September 9 as part of the state government’s COVID-19 prompted building and development acceleration.

Announcing the acceleration, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne underlined the importance of a steady development process in the current crisis.

“It’s more important than ever we continue adding to our pipeline of shovel ready projects to create jobs and stimulate the economy as we get to the other side of this second wave,” he said.

The two new Montague approvals were:

  • 2-28 Montague St: a $206 million three-tower development at 15, 24 and 38 stories, respectively.
  • 203-205 Normanby Rd: a $100 million 36-storey mixed-use tower.

Construction activity

There is currently more than $1.1 billion worth of development in the construction phase alone in Montague, according to the Fishermans Bend Development Board.

They will collectively provide around 3741 dwellings and 9386 sqm of commercial office space, and include:

  • 199-201 Normanby Rd: a 40-storey development by Capital Alliance, including apartments and a hotel. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.
  • 202-214 Normanby Rd: An apartment tower by developer Blue Earth Group that will provide 284 residences.
  • 134-142 Ferrars St: an 18-level residential tower opposite the new South Melbourne Primary School.
  • 6-78 Buckhurst St: Four residential buildings, at 27, 29, 30 and 30 stories, respectively. It will provide 1023 residences.
  • 253-273 Normanby Rd: Two towers at 37 and 40 stories by R Corporation, including 153 hotel rooms and 824 residences. It’s currently on schedule for a 2022 completion.
  • 245-251 Normanby Rd: a 41-level residential tower by Blue Earth Group.
  • 15-35 Thistethwaite St: an eight-level residential building with ground floor retail. Estimated completion in April 2021.
  • 51-59 Thistlethwaite St: A residential building by Spec Property, including 148 residences.
  • 156-162 Thistlethwaite St: four-level townhouses by Beams Projects.
  • 161 Buckhurst St: a six-level residential building •

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