Work has begun on the $500-million redevelopment of Wesley Place in central Melbourne. Centrally focused on the existing ten-building Wesley Church complex, the most significant aspect of the project is a COX Architecture-designed, 34-storey office tower that will replace the existing heritage Princess Mary Club building.

Despite the demolition of Princess Mary Club – a former accommodation centre for young women undertaking tertiary education in the city – the project will largely leave the southern church forecourt untouched. Urban regeneration has been identified as key to the project, and another courtyard will be created to the north of the site as a “community hub, shaded by the significant historic trees”.

“[The courtyard] will be immediately identifiable with qualities of respite and reflection and will provide diversity of scales of space that will encourage inclusive social interactions and also act as an events platform for the church, civic, arts and community.”

Existing heritage buildings will be restored and made subject to adaptive re-use, while existing trees and gardens will be maintained and ‘reinforced’ in an effort to maximise open, public space.

In addition to the urban regeneration aspect, Wesley Tower will add 53,000 square metres of office space to the site. Plans have been made for the development of an additional 22-storey commercial tower – to be designed by COX Architecture – that, if approved, would sit adjacent to the tower that is currently under construction.