The City of Melbourne has unanimously supported a Fender Katsalidis-designed mixed-use development atop an 1855 former cargo shed on the north bank of the Yarra River, opposite the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
A decision on the development will now be made by Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne.
The development will be located on the site of the heritage-listed Berth 5 – “the oldest surviving shed specifically designed for modern mechanized goods handling such as forklifts and pallet trucks,” according to its heritage statement.
The proposal would see the shed restored and repurposed into a waterfront function centre partly straddled by a new 17-storey residential and hotel tower to the rear.
An original development application for the site, approved by the former planning minister Matthew Guy, included a 13-storey office tower designed by Cox Architecture.
Fender Katsalidis inherited the project after a proposed change of use from commercial to residential.
The new development application for the mixed-use scheme, submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in 2016, included a curved building form with a series of “curvaceous, light, airy layers in a way that’s inspired by the cubes of the [Yarra] river and its tidal flows,” said Fender Katsalidis’s founding partner Karl Fender at the time.
However, the design supported by the City of Melbourne has since evolved into a series of rectilinear forms.
The council’s planning officers’ report acknowledged that despite an increase in height, “there will be no additional detriment to the public realm as a result of this amendment, beyond that deed acceptable under the existing permit.” It also noted “the relationship of the new built form with key heritage sites in proximity, principally, the Goods Shed and Seafarers Mission has improved.”
The proposal received the unanimous support of the City of Melbourne at a meeting of its Future Melbourne Committee on 6 February. Chair of the council’s planning portfolio Nicholas Reece said the development “will go a long way to […] making it another vibrant part of the city.
“The fact that this building has no services back to it and the fact its activated on all fronts is very clever and is a response to the City of Melbourne pushing for activation on all sides.”