Plans to transform ‘‘ugly’’ old police HQ
By Meg Hill
The City of Melbourne has unanimously endorsed designs for partial demolition and redevelopment of the old Police Headquarters building in Docklands.
The owner, Zone Q New Central Investments, has proposed $73 million to turn the building – part of the World Trade Centre complex at 633 – 669 Flinders St – into a revamped office building.
Councillors commended a Cox Architecture-designed proposal they said turned an “ugly” building into a positive contribution to Docklands, at the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on July 21.
“Most Melburnians would know that this for a long time was part of the police HQ in this town and it was a building which was pretty ugly,” planning portfolio chair Cr Nicholas Reece said.
“There’s been a very clever design undertaken here to improve the building’s appearance. It will go a long way to improving the amenity and vibrancy of what should be a fantastic precinct and quarter of Melbourne along the river there, but for a variety of reasons over decades has just not been everything that it could be.”
The proposal would increase office floor space, reduce the number of car parking spaces and introduce new ground level retail tenancies. All windows and frames of the building and large parts of the northern façade and some of the eastern façade would be demolished.
It would also create new entrances on both Flinders and Siddeley streets.
Cr Rohan Leppert echoed Cr Reece’s support of the proposal.
“This is currently a pretty austere building and it is not the most beautiful part of our city, but the proposal here to redevelop and rejuvenate that part of the city with quite an innovative reshowing of what is currently there is really welcome,” he said.
“The proposal is going to improve not just the use of a very solid building but the appearance. The extent of demolition is welcome, it’s not too much.”
“The new way of making new entrances to Flinders St and the façade treatment to ensure this building looks new and fresh and considers its context is going to create something that will change the way this part of the city looks and feels in a really positive way.”
The plans will now go to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne for approval •