Victorian property developer Colin DeLutis is one step closer to gaining approval for a premium 23-storey office tower, along with retail and restaurant plans on Lonsdale Street.
The $183 million tower would span a 2,828sq m site at 540-550 Lonsdale Street in Melbourne’s legal district.
But securing tenancies for the ground floor in a Covid-19 environment was the topic of discussion at the recent City of Melbourne meeting.
Lockdowns have had a major impact on the business community—particularly the hospitality industry—with the City of Melbourne this month announcing it is extending its outdoor dining program until mid-2021.
Recommendations for the 540-550 Lonsdale Street planning permit require a two-metre setback of the tenancy glass-line from Healeys lane, which Urbis planner Jamie Govenlock says would be a “significant impediment” to attracting appropriate retail, food and beverage clients.
“The space the client envisions being filled in those areas are restaurants—think Coda, think Becco,” Govenlock said.
“We’re operating in a Covid environment it is very difficult to get tenancies into these spaces.”
The proposal is for the construction of the 23-storey office building, along with three levels of basement car parking.
Weighing in as chair, Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the City of Melbourne had taken a very generous view to outdoor dining and outdoor applications in recent times.
“And while I can’t comment on any future applications for Healy’s Lane you would think footpath’s like this is just the sort of place we’d like to see future outdoor dining and outdoor trading occur,” Reece said.
While the council rejected amendments to the setback the motion was approved.
“What I will say about the application is that it is really, really welcome,” councillor Rohan Leppert said.
“What we currently have at the Little Lonsdale end is a remarkably unsightly above ground car-park. Exactly of the type that we are seeking to not build more of in future.
“So what’s being proposed here, I think is going to dramatically increase the urban design quality in this part of the city. And sit in among the streetscape of Lonsdale, little Lonsdale and Healy’s Lane in a really positive way.”
Council’s recommendations on the project will now be sent to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for the next stage in the process.
DeLutis, the founder and chairman of DeGroup, owns several office buildings in the legal precinct, including 263 William Street on the corner of Little Lonsdale Street, and 280 King Street in Melbourne CBD.
The site is located on the north side of Lonsdale Street, between King and William Street, with 26 metres of frontage to Lonsdale Street, a secondary 34-metre frontage to Little Lonsdale Street.