Queensbridge St tower gets the green light, paves way for Kings Way under croft renewal

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Sean Car

Developer Time & Place has received an amended permit from Minister for Planning Richard Wynne for its $410 million 65-storey mixed-use project at 88 Queensbridge St, which includes the acquisition 430 sqm of land abutting Kings Way.

In making the announcement on May 12, the developer said builder Hickory would now “imminently commence construction” at the site, which has most recently been occupied by a pop-up basketball court.

Time & Place recently acquired a neighbouring 430 sqm landholding from Crown Resorts at 15-23 Kings Way, allowing for the extension of the building’s podium and overall footprint and feeding into future renewal of Crown’s former taxi rank at the Kings Way under croft.

News of the development starting is welcome news for Southbank, with the Kings Way under croft having long been touted for an upgrade into a new civic space as part of the City of Melbourne’s City Road Master Plan.

“The Queensbridge Building”, which will sit at the western corner of Queensbridge St when complete, fills an important strategic gap in Southbank’s overall development, while helping inform a major project in the council’s master plan for the City Rd precinct.

The acquisition of the adjacent site creates a total 1370 sqm parcel of land achieving an uplift in gross realisation value (GRV) from $200 million to upwards of $400 million, while “significantly improving the allowance for amenity within the building”.

The permit amendment, which was unanimously supported by the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) in December last year, allows for a change from the original permit of 250 apartments to up to 367 apartments and a 200-room hotel.

Time & Place said the residential amenities would “emulate features typically found in a world-class hotel”, including a wellness retreat comprising bookable outdoor cabanas, open and private pool, sauna, steam room, gym, yoga studio, boxing ring and private treatment rooms.

Time & Place director Tim Price said, “We are passionate about the evolution of the Queensbridge precinct of Southbank and what the future holds for this thriving area. Acquiring the site at 15-23 Kings Way allows for a significant expansion in amenity and reinforces our development ethos to cultivate community-centric designs.”

 

We envision the building becoming a destination that promotes social interaction and engagement, with the first floors of the building spilling into the surrounding street and creating a vibrant interface with the public.

 

“This is a project about accessibility, we want to connect with Melbourne’s urban life and invite the people of this neighbourhood to feel a sense of belonging at Queensbridge – to come in and engage with the community-centric shared spaces.”

Speaking at the FMC meeting last year, Deputy Lord Mayor Nick Reece said the planning application at the site was “far and away the best proposal that we have seen for this site,” after an application was initially lodged with the state government in 2013, however little progress had been made after the site’s ownership changed hands.

“There are a number of significant improvements that have been made,” he said, with the proposed building being among the top 20 tallest buildings in Melbourne.

“I think one of the highlights of this application is that activation of the podium at the street level, which I think’s really, really important in this part of Southbank,” Cr Reece said.

While the basketball court at the site, which was established by the developer, will be lost to the development, Cr Reece said the council’s rejuvenation of the adjacent Kings Way under croft through the City Road Masterplan “does foresee a very significant increase in recreational space in Southbank,” including basketball courts.

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