A heritage-protected factory precinct near the University of Melbourne has been earmarked for proposed high-rise student accommodation. Earlier this month, the University of Melbourne submitted plans to the City of Melbourne for the site of 625-631 Swanston Street, proposing a 14-storey accommodation building to form part of the council-led Lincoln Square redevelopment project.

Draft plans from the university reveal a Hayball-designed building that would be capable of housing nearly 700 students and cost just under $70 million. Provisions have been made within the plans for 20 vehicle spaces, supplemented with 172 bike parking lots. 250sqm of ground-floor retail and 430sqm of communal learning space would round out the development.

Currently, the targeted site on the corner of Swanston Street and Lincoln Square is home to a number of mid-century factories. These are surrounded by low-quality student housing projects that have been constructed more recently. Of the former, several of these industrial buildings are subject to heritage nominations and overlays. For the Hayball-designed development to go ahead would require the demolition of these heritage-protected structures.

According to Hayball, their vision for the proposed student accommodation is to lift the quality of housing in the area through a “contemporary response” to the traditional typology that is finished in a high quality of materials.

“The vision for the Lincoln Square South project is to establish [a] new exemplar for managed student accommodation within the city that brings together academic support with residential life,” says the architect. “The facility will seek to set a new benchmark for quality accommodation operation, and to provide a unique addition to student accommodation offerings in Melbourne.

“The residence will support a contemporary scholarly community, with academic leadership and quality professional support, delivering a new Hall of Residence on the [south] side of the Parkville campus. Central to the project is the alignment of a new and unique scholarship program with a quality residential experience.

“The architectural form provides a contemporary response to the [university] tradition of courtyard and cloister with student common spaces and upper level rooms arranged around a landscaped inner court.

“The fa├žade composition and materials [incorporate] a high quality of finishes and detail, reinforcing the emerging street wall civic scale of Swanston Street and which is complementary to the industrial heritage streetscape on Lincoln Square South.”

The City of Melbourne recently released their draft concept for the Lincoln Square redevelopment, which presently includes an expansion of existing parkland and the construction of a new playground.