VCAT Reject Planning Application For Skinny Tower


Victoria’s planning adjudicator has knocked back a proposed super-thin office building set to rise from a tiny 288-square-metre Queen Street site.

Mario LoGiudice's Banco Group and developer Pierre Bernardi proposed to build a 141-metre, 37-storey building on the site.

One wall of the new structure, without windows and built from white and grey concrete to create the impression of a tree, was to rise sheer from the ground-level boundary.

The planning application for the $100 million tower was knocked back by the City of Melbourne earlier this year because of the lack of setbacks.

According to The Age, in a rare show of unity, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) backed the council and rejected the structure.

"How much and what form of development can be accommodated on a small site in the heart of Melbourne are central questions to the dispute," VCAT members Margaret Baird and Gregary Chase said.

The tribunal had no concern, in principle, with a tall building to the height proposed but said the scale of the sheer walls and lack of a podium made it unacceptable.

"Hopefully this VCAT decision is one small step back towards sensible planning decision making," City Councillor Stephen Mayne told The Age.

The site is opposite the heritage Celtic Club, where a controversial Buildcorp project is proposing a 48-level tower above the historic building.

On the opposite corner is the widely acclaimed 113-metre Fender Katsalidis-designed Republic Tower.

Banco Group's current projects include the Smith&Co development in Smith Street, Collingwood, which also ran foul of planning authorities, attracting a record number of objections before eventually being approved by VCAT.

The developers purchased the Queen Street site in October for $3.9 million.

Image via SMH

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