Alphington Proposed Site For New Mixed-Use Vertical Forest


From the minds of Giancorp Property Group comes a new development application for a major project in the heart of the Yarra.

Currently under review by the City of Yarra, Giancorp’s proposal includes a multi-level mixed-use development, at a maximum of nine storeys, incorporating basement and ground level car parking.

Located at 700-718 Heidelberg Road in the Alphington Precinct, the project would be directly adjacent to the Alphington Paper Mill Development Site. It is within 10km of Melbourne CBD and is about 20 minutes to the city by car. The area is characterised by green landscaping with parks and golf clubs along the Yarra River.

According to the application, the building will extend to a maximum height of 34.10 metres above street level and comprise a total of 109 dwellings, retail tenancies and 157 car spaces.


XO Projects, the firm behind the project’s design, have delivered a concept that was intended to introduce a sense of high quality building which will enhance the public realm and contribute to the site’s wider context.
Development details
At a maximum of nine storeys, with the highest point located at the Heidelberg Road frontage reaching 34.10 metres, the building mass steps down to the south, ensuring an appropriate transition to the residentially zoned southern abuttal.


The building’s 109 apartments comprise 31 one-bedroom dwellings, 56 two-bedroom dwellings and 22 three-bedroom dwellings. It will include two ground floor retail tenancies – the first would measure 325 square metres for general retail and the other would come to 316 square metres for café / food and drink purposes.

There will be two residential entries, one fronting Parkview Road and the other fronting Park Avenue. Each provides access to a lobby, mail room, stairwell, lift and building service equipment.


A communal terrace and amenity space will be included in the design at the mezzanine and rooftop level, providing landscaping and recreational opportunities for future residents.

The building will also include two basement levels and the ground floor accommodating 157 total car parking spaces, designated for residential, retail and visitor use. Bicycle parking is located at ground floor and basement level 2, which has the capacity to contain 82 bicycles.

With a contemporary design response incorporating unique façade materials, the project’s podium levels will feature deep soil planters which will transform the façades of the building into a "vertical forest".

“The concept for the project development is both formal and informal,” the proposal said.

“The formal relates to the concept of the courtyard urban block, which aims to reinforce the legacy of the adjacent urban grid. This urban typology also relates to its informal part; the Melbournian suburban lifestyle, built around the idea of owning a terrace and the garden, is interpreted into a set of apartments with their own-grown tree.


“Once completed, the contribution to the area will be the newly established communal vertical forest, fully built into the new architecture.”

Giancorp and XO have drawn inspiration for their green design from the 'Bosco Verticale' (Vertical Forest) project in Milan by S. Boeri, which they consider to be one of the most internationally exposed contemporary benchmark projects that includes active tree vegetation in the build structure.


“It is called Bosco Verticale because each tower houses trees between three and six meters which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise.”

To accompany the podium greenery, the building’s proposal also suggested surface level planting will also be incorporated, contributing to the green landscaped character of the future development.

“The ground level communal courtyard incorporates a variety of landscaping features and is seen as a continuous or connecting green element to Alphington Park to the south.”
Who’s next door
Sitting adjacent to the site of the proposed building is the former Alphington Paper Mill, eight kilometres northeast of the Melbourne CBD, on the northern bank of the Yarra River adjoining the corner of Heidelberg Road and Chandler Highway. Though settled as a residential area with grand homesteads in the 19th Century, for most of the 20th Century the 16 hectare site has been a working paper mill and integrated residential area until its closure in 2012.

Now, the old site has become the epicentre of a vibrant redevelopment in the Yarra area. The Alphington Paper Mill site redevelopment is set to deliver a new suburb, Yarrabend, where residents and visitors alike can enjoy new supermarkets, a specialty retail hub, apartments, townhouses and traditional house blocks. Its proximity to the river will also allow development of unique riverfront townhouses and larger scale home blocks.


If the Heidelberg Road development proceeds, it will be able to feel the benefits of the objectives laid out by the Alphington redevelopment including increased live and work opportunities and a new sense of community.

Approval for the building proposal has not yet been reached, but the City of Yarra are expected to make a decision after July 2017.

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