Property developer Gurner has won development approval for his fraught 23-33 Johnston Street project in Collingwood.
The 12-storey Johnston Street project was halted earlier this year after Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne approved an interim amendment that reduced the maximum height limit in the Johnston Street precinct.
In May, the developer directed his legal team to lodge a claim against the minister in the Victorian Supreme Court, contending that Wynne had “misapplied his discretion” and “acted beyond his power” in intervening to block the residential tower.
The developer’s claim against Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne is currently awaiting judgment in the Supreme Court.
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The permit approves 96 apartments across nine-storeys – reduced from 12-storeys – after the developer amended the proposal at the “11th hour” in order to satisfy the amended planning controls imposed by the planning minister.
Winning approval for the project is “bittersweet” Gurner founder Tim Gurner said, adding that he had “never lost a VCAT hearing”.
“We are always very pragmatic in our approach – we submit plans based on the guidelines we are given and we always ensure there is real design merit behind our schemes [so as to] gain approval as quickly as possible.”
The developer acquired the 1,800sq m Johnston Street site from the Martino family for $12 million in 2016. The newly-approved project has an end value of about $110 million.
The minister has previously imposed height restrictions on Gurner’s controversial 26-56 Queens Parade site in North Fitzroy, with a third Gurner site in the Fishermans Bend precinct one of the 26 projects recently put on hold.
The Johnston Street approval is the developer’s 22nd building in the City of Yarra. The project is around the corner from Gurner’s Smith Street proposal submitted earlier this year and his first commercial development – a $120 million mid-rise office building in Fitzroy.
Now approved, Gurner says he will work to bring Johnston Street to market in the next six to 12 months.