A masterplan to revitalise Melbourne’s Southgate precinct has been submitted for planning approval, with Fender Katsalidis engaged to design a new urban marker for Southbank and the city.
The $800 million project offers significant public benefit through a new 21-level office tower, 2,000 square metres of publicly accessible parkland and a further 2,000 square metres of landscaped open spaces.
The proposed design response for the prominent Melbourne site will see the development of a new sculptural office tower with open air terraces and city views, along with a commercial plaza and park precinct that connects to the wider river promenade.
Fender Katsalidis director Nicky Drobis says the plans have immense potential to generate greater public engagement with the river precinct directly opposite Finders Street Station, as well as develop linkages with the neighbouring Arts Centre precinct.
“The new Southgate precinct is intended to improve the lifestyle, work and entertainment experiences of residents, workers and visitors alike. Our design outcome will facilitate greater connectivity between people and place, and serve as a destination to be enjoyed for many decades to come,” she says.
The design vision responds to the limited green space available in Southbank by introducing an elevated parkland that creates opportunity to gather amongst nature, in what will be a first for the riverside location.
“Integral to our plans is the creation of informal and open spaces where people can meet. These are complemented by the more formal commercial spaces in the tower’s offices and its retail podium,” says Drobis.
In addition to working with client ARA Australia, Drobis says that collaborating with landscape architects Oculus has ensured the outcome will meet the needs of many users by offering ground plane connection, safe pedestrian access, as well as additional living greenery.
“It is a symbol of renewal via both built and urban forms that will see the site utilised for greater commercial and pedestrian connectivity with a thread of community weaved throughout,” she adds.
The proposed tower is set to have sustainable credentials and is anticipated to feature 39,000 square metres of net lettable area with approximately 10,000 square metres of retail floorspace to complement the existing IBM and HWT towers on the site.
Separate to the submission lodged is the potential for the proposed masterplan to interconnect with the forthcoming improvements to the Arts Precinct to afford more opportunities for public arts and cultural programs.
ARA Australia’s Head of Asset Management, Rohan Neville, says Fender Katsalidis had been challenged to deliver an integrated, open and accessible redevelopment scheme that better leveraged Southgate’s superb location beside the Yarra River and postcard views of the CBD.
“In a first for Melbourne, the new Southgate will create a unique opportunity to connect with nature alongside and overlooking the river – an opportunity lost up to this point in time,” says Mr Neville.
“Fender Katsalidis have delivered on our vision to create an inviting environment, with the inclusion of outdoor parkland across the new podium building fronting Southbank Promenade, which will enable people to relax and enjoy our unrivalled riverside vista."