Locals have their say on NewQuay site

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David Schout

After recently revealing its long-awaited vision for a large NewQuay site wedged between The District Docklands and Docklands Primary School, developer MAB has heard community views on the project in March.

Locals were invited to have their say about the site, which has long been used as a carpark, during two sessions.

The recently revealed plans for the new mixed-use precinct (at 396-416 Docklands Drive) outline how the prospective site would be used for both commercial and residents’ needs, intersected by a diagonal pedestrian-only laneway and park.

The six buildings proposed in the plans will range from 50 metres high to a maximum building height of 70 metres, which is similar to the height of the Marriot Hotel (opposite the site on Waterfront Way).

The yet-to-be-approved development was, according to MAB, set to take five years once signed off by the Minster for Planning.

The public car park (on Docklands Drive) will cease operating once the first building project begins; at this stage expected to occur in 2023.

“To date we have been pleased with the level of engagement on 396 Docklands Drive,” MAB senior development manager Stefan Miles told Docklands News.

“We will review feedback received and consider any appropriate revisions to the development plan prior to submission.”

MAB has said the project would “transform a degraded car park into a high-quality precinct with exciting mix of uses” and, perhaps most importantly for Docklands Primary School next door, provide a “high quality park fronting the primary school on the corner of Little Docklands Drive and St Mangos Lane.”

“The new park will be a welcoming place for residents, local workers, school parents and children,” a consultation brochure shared with locals noted.

“It will belong to the council, and the chosen landscape design will be guided by the needs of these groups. The park will include landscape features that provide opportunity for seating, play and prioritise pedestrian permeability.”

The park will be delivered in the first stage of the delivery process which, based on MAB’s current forecasts was expected to occur within three years.

Overall, MAB has said the proposed site would bring “an injection of life and activity” through new residents and retail tenants.

Group head of precincts at Development Victoria (the Victorian Government’s development arm) Geoff Ward said the project had considerable potential.

“We’ve enjoyed a long-term partnership in the NewQuay precinct with MAB and support its plans to continue to deliver a vibrant village for the community – which will also encourage people to visit Docklands,” he said.

 

This project demonstrates continued confidence in Docklands, creating jobs and encouraging people to work, live or visit in the precinct.

 

The proposed development sits directly to the south of another large-scale NewQuay site set to be transformed in the coming years.

The AsheMorgan-developed “Waterfront City East” site (bound by Footscray Rd, Little Docklands Drive and Waterfront Way) — currently a large vacant lot and multi-level carpark — is set to feature a mix of retail, office and residential buildings, a public plaza, and a large communal “high park” above the existing car park.

In February the City of Melbourne gave its tick of approval for the development having rejected the proposal in 2020.

AsheMorgan has agreed to partner with the primary school to ensure the 8000 sqm high park, dubbed by Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece as the “largest elevated park in Australia”, to ensure the space is flexible for use by students.

Cr Reece at the time spelled out the importance of future developments in NewQuay.

“Docklands has been hit pretty hard by COVID, but we’re [councillors] united in the view that it has a bright future as a waterfront suburb,” he said on February 1.

“But it all depends on the wisdom of the decisions we make now. The unvarnished truth is that some very bad mistakes were made in some of the early planning decisions.”

MAB’s next step following community consultation on the site (which was set to conclude on April 1) was to lodge development plans •

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August 3rd, 2022 - Docklands News
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