A historic Collins Street building that was once the centre of Australia’s national trade network in the early 1900s will be restored as part of a $200 million residential development by Golden Age Group and Asian Pacific Group.
The two Melbourne-based companies, which have partnered to deliver Collins House, will reinstate the original features of the three-storey, 107-year-old former Huddart Parker building at 466 Collins Street as part of the Collins House project.
Collins House will be one of the world’s most slender towers when complete in 2018. Designed by leading architects Bates Smart, it will rise above the revitalised historic building, fusing modern architecture with the property’s original features.
Golden Age Group founder Jeff Xu said celebrating the historic value of the site had been a major design priority and would result in a dramatic makeover of the current building.
“Reinstating the features of the former Huddart Parker building is the right thing to do. We wanted to create a project that is meaningful and respectful of Melbourne’s past,” said Xu.
“This building tells the history of Melbourne and Australia’s growth as a nation. We are proud to celebrate it and to be returning a bit of history to Melbourne’s iconic Collins Street.”
Built in 1908 by FE Shillabeer, the building was the hub of Australian shipping giant Huddart Parker, which was one of the major shipping companies when shipping was the principal means of interstate and trans-Tasman transport.
The company transported coal and goods nationally and to New Zealand, and was ranked 24th in the top 100 companies in Australia by asset value back in 1910. It ceased to operate in 1961 when it was taken over.
Better known today as the Makers Mark building, 466 Collins Street has lost many of its previous architectural features, with a large feature window replaced by previous owners with an entry, and the original entry covered over.
Externally, the building’s original large central window will be reinstated, complete with solid sandstone mullions and the original bluestone cladding completely restored. The remainder of the heritage façade will be finished in warm grey render with exposed brick panels.
Bates Smart has also worked with heritage consultants to create a lobby that showcases the rich legacy of the building’s maritime history through the reinstatement of its historic ceiling cornices and medallions as well as opulent columns.
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“Collins House provides an opportunity to combine the original majesty and opulence of the original building with an executive-style club-like entrance foyer that one can enter directly off the Collins Street footpath,” said Bates Smart director Kristen Whittle.
“The tower above will be respectfully set back from the heritage façade, which will create a highly memorable landmark building on the city's skyline.”
To commence selling in May, Collins House will feature 263 refined luxury apartments over 57 levels on a site 12 metres wide.
Asian Pacific Group CEO Will Deague said the project would not only restore an old landmark in Melbourne, but also create a new one.
“We hope to herald a new era in architecture in Melbourne with Collins House, creating a building unique in its form and that employs the best in design to create significant amenity for residents and a lifestyle of luxury,” he said.