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    Fortitude Valley Train Station renewal has hurdles to jump before approval

    Nathan Johnson

    Plans for a $500 million transformation of Fortitude Valley train station in Brisbane may have a few planning hurdles to jump before it is approved.

    A development application currently with the Brisbane City Council is for a 123-metre mixed-use residential-led tower fronting Alfred Street, but it also relates to the broader Valley Metro site.

    The masterplan for the site, which has been prepared by Architectus, also includes activated pedestrian links, new retail spaces and podium car parking (for the tower), as well as a separate commercial tower on Constance Street.

    But minutes from a pre-lodgement planning meeting with the Brisbane City Council suggests that at least the residential tower element may struggle to win the approval of the governing authority.

    At 30-storeys high, the resi tower exceeds maximum height for the site (based on the Fortitude Valley Neighbourhood Plan) by 18-storeys. Its 8-storey podium was also considered to be well in excess of the anticipated height for podiums in the location by the council.

    The council did concede that uplift may be considered justifiable for the site based on an acceptable design outcome, however it noted that the building height, bulk and scale as proposed appear excessive in the context of this locality.

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    Aerial view shows scale of development compared to its surrounds 

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    The tower’s glazed facades are broken up by lattice work of concrete structural frames 

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    Green walls and planting mesh feature on the building’s podium

    The building’s impact on the adjacent heritage Fortitude Valley Child Health Centre at 112 Alfred Street (above right) was also cause for concern at the meeting. The Council recommended locating pedestrian connections along this connection with a view to provide adequate buffer for the Heritage Place.  

    That said, an accompanying heritage impact statement from Ian McDonald Architects does suggest that the proposal in its current state would have no adverse impact on the cultural heritage significance of the Fortitude Valley Child Health Centre, apart from minor loss of views.  

    If it does gain approval, the building would provide 207 new apartments to the Fortitude Valley area, which the architects note is currently undergoing a significant transition period.

    The apartment building would be heavily soundproofed with a double skin fa├žade treatment to ensure residents are not affected by the Valley's nightlife and below train station.

    The development is backed by global investment manager LaSalle.

    Images: Architectus/Brisbane City Council

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