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    Three Fender Katsalidis towers okayed for $1.9 billion Melbourne Quarter

    Nathan Johnson

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    Fender Katsalidis has received general support from the City of Melbourne for their three-tower residential contribution to the Batman’s Hill Development Plan, now known as The Melbourne Quarter.

    Victorian planning approved the first stage of the $1.9 billion Melbourne Quarter back in March, the new “city precinct” attracting attention because it will be built over the top of part of Wurundjeri Way and Collins Street.

    The first stage approval included a 2000sqm elevated “skypark,” designed by Denton Corker Marshall (DCM) in collaboration with Aspect Oculus, as well as a 19-storey commercial tower approved for Aurora Lane and Collins Street also designed by DCM.

    Now three residential towers by Fender Katsalidis have received a general okay from the City of Melbourne (subject to conditions) and will face Victorian Planning for final approval.

    The proposal includes two high-rise towers both 136.1 metres to parapet (R1 and R2 ) fronting Flinders Street, and a medium rise 58.7-metre building above Batman’s Garden(R3). The proposal also includes adaptation to a Heritage Victoria listed red brick wall on the southern boundary fronting Flinders Street which will be penetrated four times to improve pedestrian access as part of the proposal. Two of the penetrations are three metres and four metres wide, both for pedestrian access. The remaining two openings are eight metres and 17.4 metres wide for vehicular egress and access. There is another opening to the east of the site which is not part of the proposal as it is outside the site boundary.

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    Despite rumours that the developer Lend Lease would pilot new micro-style apartments as small as 25sqm for the Melbourne Quarter, this seems to have been scrapped as the Fender Katsadilis DA shows the smallest studio apartment is 37sqm, which is actually larger than NSW’s SEPP65 minimum internal area for studio apartments.  Additionally, only six of the 1,600 apartments across the three buildings will be ‘Micro’ studio apartments. In total there are 595 x 1 bedroom, 1014 x 2 bedroom, 27 x 3 bedroom apartments (plus the six studio apartments).

    Apart from a few other minor alterations, The City of Melbourne has requested Fender Katsadilis create a greater differentiation between R1 and R2 through a combination of variations in height, podium / tower distinction, diversity of materials and varied upper level setbacks to differentiate the two towers, which they say will reduce the overall bulk as perceived from Flinders Street.

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