Brian is a man with a plan

For Brian Herlihy one the best parts about working for a major developer is seeing a project materialise.

His job with Lend Lease gives him the opportunity to see a project transition from the drawing board to the streetscape.

As project director for the recently-secured Batman’s Hill site, Mr Herlihy has the opportunity to guide the development of a site that is around the same size as an average city block.

Lend Lease secured the 2.5 hectare site, the last major parcel of uncontracted land in Docklands, after going through a bid process that started in July 2011, when it and four other developers were shortlisted by Places Victoria for the contract.

The developer beat Australis Consortium, Leighton Properties and a joint bid between Grocon and Mirvac to secure the site.

Mr Herlihy is originally from Ireland and started his career as an architect before turning to project management and then development.

He’s worked for Lend Lease for the past five years and has worked on urban regeneration projects including Victoria Harbour’s Myer and ANZ buildings and the Collins St extension.

Mr Herlihy has spent the past year and a half leading Lend Lease’s Batman’s Hill team through the bid process and now into the master planning stage.

“We’re now at the stage where we get the opportunity to put down the vision and capture that in the master plan,”
Mr Herlihy said.

“Lend Lease’s vision is to create the best places and personally I’m very aligned to that as I’m pretty passionate about cities and how cities develop over time,” Mr Herlihy said

The Batman’s Hill development will become a mixed-use precinct worth an estimated $1.6 billion over the next 10 years.

The site is currently home to Bruce Armstrong’s 2002 sculpture The Eagle, which was inspired by Bunjil, the spirit creator of the Kulin nation.

The sculpture is owned by Places Victoria and may need to be moved, depending on the master plan for the site.

According to Places Victoria general manager Simon Wilson, if the sculpture does need to be relocated the organisation’s preference is that the artwork be moved to another location along Wurundjeri Way or to another site within Docklands.

If, and when, the sculpture is moved it will be making way for over 100,000 sqm of commercial space, around 600 homes, a sheltered public plaza and a north south laneway connecting Southern Cross Station and Collins St with Flinders St and the Northbank precinct.

Lend Lease will also deliver 1000 sqm of community facilities as part of land deal.

“We’ll be working very closely with Places Victoria, with the City of Melbourne and all of the stakeholders involved to work through the best community use for those facilities,” Mr Herlihy said.

The development will close the Collins St gap between Media House and Walker Corporation’s Collins Square development, creating a continuous street front across the bridge.

“It’s really filling in what is currently a disconnection between the historic CBD and the emerging Docklands precinct,” Mr Herlihy said.

The Batman’s Hill development is expected to take about 10 years to build, with construction forecast to start late next year, depending on the relevant approvals and market demand.

“I think one of the great things about working for a company like Lend Lease and in this kind of industry is that the work we do is ultimately physically built and you can walk down the street and touch it,” Mr Herlihy said.

“When my family visit I can point out a building or public space and tell them I was involved in bringing it to life,” Mr Herlihy said.

Mr Herlihy said that, while it was a great feeling, his role came with a lot of responsibility.

“We need to make sure we get it right because we do leave lasting legacies and we want to leave really positive lasting legacies,” Mr Herlihy said.