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Yarra’s Edge residents may lose their views

01 Apr 2010

By Alison Kinkade

Yarra’s Edge residents could lose their upstream city views with the State Government refusing to rule out high-rise developments as part of its plans to redevelop North Wharf.

The Department of Treasury and Finance quietly last month called for registrations of interest (RoI) on the 1.24-hectare site that sits opposite South Wharf and in between the Mission to Seafarers on Wurundjeri Way and Siddeley St.

Since calling for RoI, the Government has remained coy about the possible uses for the land.

The City of Melbourne, in conjunction with VicUrban, the Department of Planning and Parks Victoria, has released suggestions for the area which include community, arts and cultural facilities.

It is understood that the City of Melbourne favours an “indoor park” use for the historic Shed 5.  This would involve removing the asbestos roof of the building and greening the interior.

It is understood that the Government commissioned the council to suggest and define appropriate development for the site which has not been subject to normal planning scheme requirements.

However, it is suggested in the Government’s RoI documents that the area could be rezoned from a “public park and recreation zone” to “capital city zone”.

Public affairs manager for the Department of Treasury and Finance, Helen Ward, said nothing was being ruled out, including high-rise developments.

“This is just the first stage. It’s really just a brain-storming session,” Ms Ward said.

Ms Ward said all submissions from developers would be assessed on the basis of impact and economic grounds.

The land, which contains a heritage-listed crane that is attached to a historic warehouse, contains 230 metres of prime Yarra River frontage.

Estate agency, Knight Frank, on behalf of the Government, will be accepting registrations of interest on the parcel of crown land until April 14.

Following its assessment of the proposals, the Government will then call for formal expressions of interest, though only parties who have originally submitted a registration of interest will be invited to participate.

The call for registrations of interest has brought an element of relief to the Mission to Seafarers organisation which has been under a threat of government “redevelopment”.

The mission is relieved that it’s heritage-listed premises was not also included in the RoI process.

The mission is understood to be working with the nearby World Trade Centre on a commercial model which would demonstrate to  the Treasury and Finance Department that the mission can adequately look after the building.

Ultimately, the mission is seeking freehold possession of its site.

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