Property developer Gurner has announced plans to construct a multi-level retail and commercial “precinct” in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy North.

The proposed precinct, which would add $90 million to the developer’s portfolio, is being planned for the 3,300-square-metre site of 81-89 Queens Parade. Cox Architecture has been selected for the design of the development, which is intended to interact with Gurner’s nearby residential project at 26-56 Queens Parade.

The yet-to-be-constructed residential project – a 16-storey apartment tower near Edinburgh Gardens – has attracted much controversy. The local community has established a residents’ group in opposition to the development, particularly pointing out the impact the tower’s height will have on city views. The group’s website has a protest poster available for download, which can now be seen displayed on many local homes and businesses.

Gurner director, Tim Gurner, told The Urban Developer that the firm is specifically targeting the Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood for future projects.

“Collingwood and Fitzroy have some of the most lively strip shopping precincts in Melbourne, fuelled by creativity and a healthy mix of retail, hospitality and service businesses and a very large percentage of residents aged between 25 [and] 40 years old,” he says.

“The local population of the City of Yarra is forecast to grow by 30 percent in the next 20 years, so we see a unique opportunity to cater [to] the business and commercial needs of the area.”

The developer is currently preparing their proposal for the Fitzroy North retail and commercial precinct, with plans to submit for council approval in the coming months. If approved, Gurner hopes to take the project to market sometime next year.