Council endorses build-to-rent tower on “irregular-shaped” Victoria Harbour site

Council endorses build-to-rent tower on “irregular-shaped” Victoria Harbour site
David Schout

A “unique triangular building” featuring 499 build-to-rent apartments has been given the green light by City of Melborune councillors.

A 499-apartment build-to-rent tower on one of Docklands’ last undeveloped parcels of land has been given the tick of approval by City of Melbourne councillors.

On what’s been termed an “irregular-shaped” site at the junction of Collins and Bourke streets, developer Lendlease is set to commence construction on the 24-storey tower in 2024 should it be granted approval by the Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny.

Project architects Cox Architecture said it “broke with convention” in delivering a three-winged design that straddled the corners of the Victoria Harbour site, allowing for more sunlight than the usual, standard developments.

It is Lendlease’s first build-to-rent project in Victoria Harbour that, unlike most apartment buildings where units are sold to prospective buyers, refers to a residential development in which dwellings are retained and leased directly by the developer.

The majority of the tower’s 499 apartments will be one- or two-bedroom dwellings (198 and 224 respectively), as well as 56 studio apartments and 21 three-bedroom offerings.

“[The site is] one of the last remaining parcels of land remaining in Docklands, which is quite a remarkable thing if you think about what this part of the city looked like just three decades ago,” the council’s planning chair Cr Nicholas Reece said at the November 21 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

“It’s now I think one of the best examples of waterfront living in an urban environment in Australia and it’s been a remarkable journey … I think it will be a real landmark for this part of the city, as you’d expect at the junction of Collins St and Bourke St.”

The council attached one condition to its support; that ground-floor display suites were replaced by hospitality, retailers and tenancies which are publicly accessible at the 899-913 Collins St site.

“We have noticed with some of the build-to-rent applications coming before us, that we haven’t seen the same level of street front activation that we would normally look for,” Cr Reece said.


“So instead of retail or hospitality, we’re getting co-working spaces, gyms and other amenity which is only accessible for people who live [there]. From the City of Melbourne’s perspective, we want to see our streets as active as possible, and create space on the street where the public is.”


Cox Architecture director Simon Haussegger said the unique design would create better living conditions for future tenants.

“It’s the first build-to-rent development by Lendlease in the precinct, so their ambitions were set really high from the very start of this project,” he said.

“The floor plates are really designed to maximise the resident experience, so natural light to corridors where possible. The way that the three wings are configured allows for maximum natural light.”

Speaking on behalf of Lendlease, Sarah Macklin from town planners Urbis said they expected construction to begin next year.

“The project will deliver almost 500 new dwellings, and when we’re in a bit of a housing crisis with an undersupply [of housing], the delivery of those projects will be most welcome,” she said.

“It’s shovel-ready being a built to rent project. We don’t have the burden of requiring pre-sale [of apartments] so it does mean it can commence quite quickly.”

If approved by the state government, future residents are set to have unencumbered views of both the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour and be part of a growing number of build-to-rent buildings in Docklands.

Cr Reece said the council was pleased to see another upcoming build-to-rent tower.

“Melbourne has really taken a lead with this sort of development. We’ve got more build-to-rent developments than anywhere else in the country with vacancy rates as low as 12 per cent. Like most other build-to-rent offerings this one will offer a very high standard of amenity.” •


Caption: Plans for a residential tower featuring 499 build-to-rent apartments at Victoria Harbour have been approved by the City of Melbourne.

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