North Wharf to stay low key


By Shane Scanlan

The State Government has selected a sympathetic “local” bid to redevelop North Wharf.

words by Shane Scanlan

Under the successful bid by a consortium comprising Asset 1 and the World Trade Centre (WTC), Seafarers Park will be retained in full and enhanced.

A real estate agent’s prospectus calling for registrations of interest sparked outrage in April when it said the Government was willing to rezone the park from “public park and recreation” to “capital city zone 1” to allow development.

Local MP Bronwyn Pike subsequently assured Flinders Wharf residents that this was not the case, and denied intervening in the process.

The historically-protected Shed 5 and crane will be restored as part of the successful bid and a modest commercial building of 10 to 12 storeys will be built on the land between the shed and Wurundjeri Way.

WTC director Phil Hill said an “ultra-luxe” hotel would also be part of the development.

He said the 40-room hotel would be incorporated into the shed and could sit above the river. Mr Hill said the hotel would set new standards for luxury in Melbourne.

The rest of Shed 5 would most likely have an “epicurean” function, he said.

WTC has separately entered into an agreement with the Mission to Seafarers to establish a building restoration foundation for the heritage-listed charity in Flinders St.

Mr Hill’s consortium signed a memorandum of understanding with the State Government in October. But there is a fair way to go before actual plans are revealed.

Mr Hill said the agreement reached with the Government was “high level” and research and design would continue until early 2011 when a proposal would be ready for public comment. He declined to say what he off ered to pay for the long-term leasehold.

He said it was unlikely that work would start within the next two years and it was likely to be a further two years before completion.

It is understood that the WTC bid beat more robust proposals for residential towers.

“Ours is a mixed use, medium-density bid which we believe is the right blend of uses for the site,” Mr Hill said.

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