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Shovels hit the ground on contested development at Boyd Park

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Brendan Rees

Work to tear down a much-loved basketball court and pop-up orchard at Boyd Village has started, paving the way for the construction of a controversial 42-storey tower.

Situated next to the Boyd Community Hub, the development – which attracted strong community opposition due to the removal of scarce open space – will be home to 434 build-to-rent (BTR) apartments, 40 of which will be affordable rental dwellings for “key workers”, as well as public amenities.

The new development on the western edge of Boyd Park is the result of an agreement between the City of Melbourne and developer PDG Corporation after a series of failed attempts to develop the site with previous partner Mackie Group and later Ciaro, which date back to 2011.

PDG’s managing director Vince Giuliano said the development, known as “Boyd Village”, would create “a one-of-a-kind offering unlike anything else in Southbank”.

“Boyd Village will provide Southbank with a diverse residential charm with its expansive park, green spaces, and array of leisure and co-working spaces, which will accompany the current communal facilities such as the library, café and art studios within the heritage-listed Boyd Community Hub,” he said.

A ground-breaking ceremony marking the construction of the site, which included a smoke ceremony with a local Aboriginal elder, was held on February 7.

 

 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it was a milestone occasion, adding the City of Melbourne was “thrilled to partner with PDG to further enhance the offerings in the precinct, including new public space and council facilities”.

“Southbank is one of our city’s shining jewels – a thriving residential hub and the epicentre of Melbourne’s spectacular cultural, dining and events offerings,” she said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Cr Capp noted the renovation of Boyd Library “was only made possible because of this development – something that unfortunately has been forgotten and lost in the years that have passed since this project was first devised”.

However, she recognised the need for more open spaces in Southbank, which has become Melbourne’s most densely populated suburb, saying the council was “in the market”.

 

“We are at the City of Melbourne looking to bring more open spaces to this neighbourhood over time, and we are certainly in the market at the moment looking for appropriate places at affordable prices – not always easy to match,” she said.

 

PDG is partnering with Investa and Oxford Properties for the Boyd Village development in what will deliver Investa’s BTR platform Indi, a BTR management platform launched in May 2021 with the goal of providing residents with a new and desirable alternative to the traditional private rental market.

Investa will keep the tower and podium, except part of the ground floor and level one council facilities, which will be owned and managed by the City of Melbourne.

Indi Southbank is billed to appeal to residents “keen for inner-city living with rental flexibility and access to premium amenities” including an outdoor heated swimming pool with views back to the CBD skyline, a full-sized gym, and a multipurpose fitness room, and games rooms.

It will also feature outdoor barbeque areas, co-working spaces, private dining, podcast rooms and lounge areas on level 42 with expansive bay and city views.

The development drew controversy when it was first proposed with the Southbank Residents’ Association president Tony Penna saying in 2021 that “residents of Southbank are disappointed any development was given approval on our sacred green open space”.

The council bought the entire Boyd Park site, formerly home to JH Boyd Girls School, back in 2007. It wasn’t until 2019 that the council decided to sell a 1843 square-metre portion of the site to PDG for $16.5 million – but as part of the deal, PDG agreed to deliver a range of community benefits in its proposal.  

The plans were eventually endorsed by councillors in December 2020 despite 128 submitters overwhelmingly opposing the proposal.

After negotiations initially failed with developers, the council funded a temporarily park with a basketball court at the site.   

The new development – which will achieve a 6-star Green Star certification – comes as PDG partnered with the City of Melbourne to successfully complete a $500 million Munro mixed-use development in the Queen Victoria Market precinct. It launched in December and features 490 BTR apartments. •

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