Much needed activation

City of Melbourne councillors have unanimously endorsed a 38-storey proposal for a last remaining key site, which sits on a less-than-desirably-activated City Rd block.

Developer Maretree Pty Ltd will seek approval from Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, for a $60 million proposal for 293-297 City Rd, which will include 212 apartments.

What pleased councillors most at their September 18 Future Melbourne Committee meeting was its ground-floor activation on both the City Rd and Hancock St interfaces.

If approved, the building would consist of ground-floor retail spaces on City Rd, as well as the currently underutilised Hancock St.

This would provide a welcome change to other neighbouring developments, which use the Hancock St interface for substations, car parking and service entries.

Having originally applied for a permit for the site in 2015, this amended application pre-dates planning scheme amendments C262 and C270 and will, therefore, be assessed under old planning rules, which were in place at the time.

In spite of this, council’s planning chair Nicholas Reece commended council officers for working with architect Crone Partners to deliver a “good design” outcome, on what Cr Rohan Leppert described as a “really, really challenging block.”

“It is a really challenging part of Southbank,” Cr Leppert said. “It could be the best designed building in the world but would still be on a really, really challenging block where so many planning sins have been committed over the last 10 years.”

Cr Jackie Watts also commended the developer for including 10 per cent of the building’s apartments as three-bedroom and 64 per cent as two-bedroom.

“We want to attract families all over our city,” she said.

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