A proposed $1 billion project in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Cremorne by Fender Katsalidis Architects and landscape architecture practice Oculus will bring the iconic Nylex Clock back to life and deliver up to 1,000 new dwellings.
The 1.4-hectare development has been dubbed The Malt District due to its history as a brewery and malt storage site, with disused concrete silos and four red-brick malt houses dominating the triangular area. The silos date back to the 1950s/60s and the malt houses as far back as the 1880s. Parts of both the heritage-listed features will be adapted and incorporated into the development, which will also include a micro-brewery.
The Malt District project will include buildings between three and 21 levels, 6,000 square metres of commercial space for retail and other services, 1,000 car parks, storage for 1,000 bicycles, a People’s Plaza public space and a Yarra River interface that connects cyclists and pedestrians to paths.
The project proposes to, “turn it from a private, industrial place to a living, humming active public place,” said Fender Katsalidis planning director David Sutherland.
“It’s going to have height to it, but it’s in a place where height already exists. It’s very unusual in that area to already have those tall forms which can accept the taller residential buildings.”
“[The site is] right next to the Yarra Corridor so what it means is that by turning it into a public place we can actually add to the potential connection for this part of Cremorne to the Yarra Corridor,” he said.
The developer behind the project is Melbourne-based Caydon, and the consultant team involved in the project includes Lovell Chen Architects & Heritage Consultants, Parks Victoria and planners from the City of Yarra.
“As we pulled away the layers of the site, we started to expose its history and all the different materiality and texture of the place,” said Oculus landscape designer and founding partner Bob Earl.
“Our plans represent a coming together of new and old. What we have imagined is a concentration of the site that was, and a distillation of Cremorne as it is now, to create a greener, grander place that celebrates its history and proximity to the river.”
Fender Katsilidis Architects were also involved in an earlier proposal for the site in 2002 that would have seen all of the silos demolished and only the Nylex Clock retained in place of a 10-storey office building.
The iconic Nylex Clock will be fully restored and returned to operation as part of the project, and will be run using renewable energy. A publicly accessible rooftop function area close to the base of the sign will provide visitors with a previously unseen view across the city.
The clock was constructed in 1961 and has served as an icon of the industrial area, but it was switched off in 2007 after Nylex Plastics closed down. In January this year a group called the Nylex Clock Collective – who have described themselves as fans of the clock – broke in and switched the clock back on for a brief period of time.
The proposal has been lodged with the City of Yarra for approval.