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New vision for City Harbour revealed

Sean Car

A new central park, reduced traffic and connections to surrounding precincts are at the forefront of a new master plan for the rebranded City Harbour precinct.

Previously known as Digital Harbour, the block bound by Dudley St, Harbour Esplanade, Latrobe St and Wurundjeri Way is in many ways the conduit between the CBD, Docklands and neighbouring urban renewal projects in E-Gate and Arden.

The new name “City Harbour” repositions the precinct to realise that ambition, and its developers have now submitted a new development plan to the state government for consideration.

With the plan seeking significant changes to the previously approved development plan from 2011, City Harbour’s Guy Taylor told Docklands News that the new vision had been designed to focus on the “user’s amenity and experience”.

“It [City Harbour] will be a connected community that promotes activity and wellbeing,” he said. “It will do this by reducing traffic, increasing public open space and providing a future connection to the E-Gate and Arden Precincts. City Harbour’s new master plan will prioritise people.”

City Harbour’s new plans provide for a large “Central Park” at the heart of the precinct that will be complemented by a “North Grounds” park near Dudley St, which will provide the future link to the E-Gate and Arden precincts. 

With a 50 per cent reduction in road area and 30 per cent increase in park areas, the new master plan proposes three new commercial buildings at 50 Digital Drive, 240 Harbour Esplanade and 220-230 Harbour Esplanade.

This is in addition to a proposed commercial tower at 30-40 Digital Drive, located next to the Melbourne Water building at 990 Latrobe St, which is currently before the Minister for Planning for approval.

Poly Australia’s currently under-construction 23-storey project at 1000 Latrobe St is due to open this year, and will feature A-grade commercial space and a new food court facing the NBN building in the middle of the precinct. Border Force’s car parking facilities will be moved underneath 1000 Latrobe once the building is completed, paving the way for the redevelopment of 30-40 Digital Drive.

The precinct also already includes Customs House at the corner of Latrobe St and Harbour Esplanade, and the LifeLab building at 198 Harbour Esplanade.

Development Victoria also owns a portion of land in the centre of the precinct, which Docklands News understands is flagged for a potential new residential development.

Mr Taylor said all of City Harbour’s new buildings would address the new Central Park, with the reconfiguration of roads all aimed at removing vehicles from the precinct as much as possible to make it more pedestrian-focused.

“The precinct will provide a blend of soft landscapes with shared spaces that seamlessly connect to the new proposed buildings,” he said.

Under the plans, Digital Drive will be transformed into a “calm” and “seamless” environment with a turning circle abutting the new northern park. A culinary “urban lane” is also proposed to offer a range of dining experiences and activations.

With commercial offices offering larger floor plates opening onto open space, Mr Taylor said the emphasis of “bringing the parks up into the building” provided a unique and rare proposition to larger corporates at the edge of the CBD •

For more information: cityharbour.com.au

Docklands: It’s time for a plan

Docklands: It’s time for a plan

September 29th, 2021 - Sean Car
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