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    Grimshaw's Aspire Tower faces scrapheap as developer launches new design competition

    Nathan Johnson

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    The developers of the 90-storey ‘Aspire Tower’ slated for Parramatta, Sydney has reopened a design competition for the project that will likely see the old concept by Grimshaw architects scrapped.

    Grimshaw won the original design competition for the site situated in the heart of the $2 billion re-development of Parramatta Square which was held by the Parramatta City Council back in 2013.

    But it seems that Walker Corporation, who were selected to develop Aspire as well as two 53-storey towers by Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW) for Parramatta Square back in August 2015, are looking to change the Grimshaw’s concept, instead opting for a new design competition which will see Bates Smart, Fender Katsalidis, DBI Design and PTW Architects battle it out for the brief.

    One thing that hasn’t changed is the building’s height, which Walker says will stay at 90-storeys if the Federal Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) reconsider their resistance to the development. At 366-metres tall, Grimshaw’s mixed-use tower of 700 apartments is higher than the building height limits for the site and needs the okay from NSW Government and CASA before it can go ahead.

    Parramatta City Council’s request to remove such limits back in May 2015 was supported by the NSW Government however Walker says it will need to have further discussions with CASA before a Stage 2 Development Application is launched for a 90-storey building.

    Bates Smart, Fender Katsalidis, DBI Design and PTW Architects have been shortlisted following submissions from over 10 national and international design studios. The tower will have an end value in excess of $500 million and will be the largest residential tower to be built in the state’s history.

    The competition, to be concluded on February 22, 2016, is running as demolition and construction works on the $2 billion re-development of Parramatta Square are now well underway.

    It is expected that development approvals for the Aspire Tower will be lodged by June 2016. The Development Application (DA) for the Aspire Residential Tower will incorporate a Stage one 70 storey tower and following successful discussions with the Federal Civil Aviation Safety Authority, a second stage Development Application will be lodged for 90 storeys.

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