Following the release of Mirvac's latest $750 million office project on Collins Street on Monday, Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle expressed his determination to keep Melbourne’s CBD reserved for commercial use.
The Australian Financial Review said that $8.5 billion in developments and deals has surged along Collins Street in the past three years, but the Lord Mayor has seen residential towers crowd out much-needed commercial development and remains wary of the ramifications of the development pendulum swinging any further in favour of residential towers.
According to the AFR, Cr Doyle is now pushing for greater controls to ensure commercial space – like the developments along Collins Street – is not sacrificed for the faster development profits in high-residential towers.
The ratio of residential development to commercial is approaching five times, the AFR said.
"It's very important that we keep a focus on the fact that the business of the city is business," Cr Doyle told the AFR.
"I don't want to start seeing a shortfall as residential overtakes commercial.
"It's one way to rebalance, if you have different rules for commercial buildings from residential buildings.
"We've got to be looking at it now. We can't just let it run."In order to back up his warnings on development, Cr Doyle will reportedly call for a reconsideration of the city’s planning rules and how they are applied. One suggestion included was to allow for a lightening on commercial building regulations and to add conditions to new buildings they may not be converted into residential buildings in the future.
Coming off the sod turning of their commercial project at 477 Collins Street, Mirvac Chief Executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz told the AFR she also recognised the quandary Melbourne and Sydney face.
Mirvac Turns The Sod On Olderfleet At Collins Street]"Liveable cities are 24-hour, seven-day cities. The old days of having a CBD empty out over the weekend are gone," she told the AFR.
"There needs to be a balance. You can't have a totally residential city, you can't have a totally commercial CBD."