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Heritage Building Overshadows Dexus Proposal

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Dexus’ plans for a 26-storey office tower has been given the final assent by the City of Melbourne following initial concerns about overshadowing and the heritage-listed Melville House.

The council decided to turn around the recommendation of officers and support the proposal subject to a number of conditions.

They described it as an “exceptional, designed building” but “more work could be done around a facade strategy”.

Councillors put on record that they supported the build but were worried overshadowing on Collins Place and the impact of the decision on future developments.

The plans, expected to cost $140 million, would see a partial demolition of 52 Collins Street known ANU House as well as the demolition of 60 Collins Street, a 15-storey office tower built in 1965.

The property giant purchased the heritage-listed ANU House for $70 million in 2018 along with the Reserve Bank’s headquarters for $160 million.

Dexus has a stronghold on the “Paris end” of Melbourne's CBD after acquiring QIC’s 80 Collins Street in a $1.482 billion deal. The latest proposal was set to add 35,730 square metres to Dexus' Melbourne office pipeline.

A spokesperson for Dexus said that the landlord will work with the state government in seeking final approval for this project.

“We are now proceeding through the State planning process with the full support of the council.

“We believe the development will deliver vital premium office accommodation, adding much needed modern office stock and quality amenity to this prominent section of Collins Street.”

ANU House comprises a multi-storey office building with a grand nineteenth century residence called Melville House at the front.

The three-storey building was an “excellent example of the so-called Boom Style architecture of 1880s Victoria” according to the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Bates Smart-designed plans would see both office buildings demolished but the original Melville House retained and reconfigured internally.

▲The Melville Tower as it currently stands and the proposed redevelopment of the site.
▲The Melville House as it currently stands and the proposed redevelopment at the site.

The application was initially recommended to be rejected because the built form would be too dominating on the heritage house and flagged issues with shadowing on a nearby public forecourt.

“Though larger forms can be accepted in this location, a more restrained form is considered appropriate here,” Land Use and Development practice leader Jane Birmingham said.

“Though as a stand-alone piece of architecture the proposed building is considered to be of high quality, the treatment of the service core wall immediately behind Melville House does not adequately respond to the immediate surrounding context.

“It is considered that Melville House and, in turn, The Melbourne Club, warrant a more engaging backdrop.”

Located at the Paris end of Collins Street, Dexus’s proposed development of 52-60 Collins Street will deliver 35,730 square metres of Premium office space.


Editor’s note: The original version of this article reported that the development proposal was rejected by the City of Melbourne. The motion was amended at a council meeting Tuesday, 17 February.

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/melbourne-to-reject-dexus-collins-street-office-tower