Malaysian property group SP Setia has commenced construction on its $565 million twin tower project in central Melbourne on the former Telstra exchange site.
The Sapphire by the Gardens apartment and luxury Shangri-La hotel development will now begin to pierce the CBD skyline after the turning of the sod ceremony attended by SP Setia's Choong Kai Wai, Shangri-La Worldwide's Lim Ben Chee and Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp.
The mixed-use project’s western tower, will reach 62-storeys and will host the five-star Shangri-La hotel, will be retained by SP Setia.
The Shangri-La Melbourne will feature 500 guest rooms and include a gym, health and recreation centre, and a lavish 1000-guest grand ballroom overlooking the Carlton Gardens.
The eastern tower will reach 60-storeys and will house over 300 luxury residential apartments, 95 per cent of which have sold out.
The residential tower will also feature office space, retail and hospitality space on the lower levels of the development.
The towers will be connected by a "sky lounge" on level 46 overlooking the UNESCO world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and its surrounding Carlton Gardens.
Limited apartments are left in Sapphire By The Gardens, mostly penthouses with higher selling prices.
“The secret behind Sapphire By The Garden’s success, with over 95 per cent of the project sold, was the substantial underlying demand for premium, highly-liveable and world class residential apartments in Melbourne’s CBD.”
“The market wanted a high-quality product and we’re proud to have delivered that at this site.”
A penthouse in the tower has been picked up by an overseas buyer for $14.8 million, with another, which comes with 10 car parking spaces, carries a price tag of $29 million, making it the most expensive apartment on the Melbourne property market.
SP Setia acquired the high-profile 4000-hectare site at 308 Exhibition Street – which features frontages to Exhibition and La Trobe Streets, in May 2016 from Telstra.
“Today’s ground-breaking ceremony represents a significant milestone for Setia and further signals our commitment to developing a pipeline of projects that are highly sought after by the Australian market,” S P Setia’s Australian chief executive Choong Kai Wai said.
Multiplex has been selected to complete the tower, which was designed by Cox and Fender Katsalidis architects.
“As one of Multiplex’s largest projects currently under way in Australia, it is set to generate significant employment throughout its construction and beyond.”
Construction is anticipated to take three years, and is expected to provide over 1000 jobs.
This is also the SP Setia’s fifth and biggest project at Melbourne's CBD creating a gross development value of $2.3 billion over the past 10 years.