Charter Hall Group, one of Australia’s leading fully integrated property groups, has received planning approval for a new public green space at their $1.5 billion Wesley Place precinct in Melbourne’s CBD.

The 5,000sqm public space has been designed by landscape architects OCULUS in collaboration with Cox Architects, and is expected to be available to the public by the middle of this year.

One of only four green spaces in the CBD, the Wesley Place public space is designed to provide the precinct’s tenants as well as workers and visitors in the CBD, a place to meet, relax and recharge in a vibrant outdoor environment. The plan for the green space includes a retail food and beverage offering, as well as 520 square metres of lawn and native flora to complement the existing heritage-listed olive and elm trees onsite.

The public space will also be technology-enabled with free Wi-Fi, outdoor power outlets with USB charging ports, digital maps for wayfinding, and solar powered smart bins that self-compact and alert maintenance staff when they need to be emptied.

An interactive Heritage Trail, featuring QR code enabled educational plaques that link to information on the history of the precinct online, and a display of artefacts found during archaeological digs at the site, are also part of the approved plan.

Charter Hall regional development director, Simon Stockfeld says, “The receipt of this approval for the public space is another exciting milestone for this transformative $1.5 billion precinct. When it opens in mid-2020, the space will create a sanctuary in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, providing the community and our Wesley Place tenants with a diverse, future-ready and tech-enabled space for people to collaborate, converge and communicate on a daily basis.”

According to Stockfeld, the Wesley Place precinct has been designed to connect with the outdoor environment.

“From cascading outdoor terraces on the upper levels of 130 Lonsdale Street, to tree-lined avenues and public green spaces, the expanse of greenery will become a major drawcard for productivity and communities in our evolving city,” he added.

OCULUS director Bob Earl says, “Heritage was a major inspiration for the design of the public area at Wesley Place, but we, of course, needed to balance this with contemporary uses and expectations.

“The layout of seating, gardens and lawn respects the orthogonal layout of the buildings and variation in textures will be used to connect the new with the old. The open lawn at the Little Lonsdale end provides a generous green space focused around existing trees, one of which is the oldest olive tree in Australia,” Earl says.