The Victorian state government has gazetted its amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme which validated the approval of Crown Resort’s 323-metre tower at Southbank.

The information found in the document sheds light on the proposed $100 million public realm works that helped the developer get the project over the line.

Crown and Schiavello Group will need to provide a Public Realm Improvements Plan within 12 months of the commencement of development which will include detailed design and landscaping of all public realm works proposed within close vicinity of the subject site.

This will include a $25 million upgrade to Queensbridge Square, a $10 million contribution to improve Queens Bridge Street, a new Sandridge Rail Bridge that will cost $15 million, and another $15 million contribution to a new look Southbank Promenade and Boulevard.

Interestingly this only accounts for 65 per cent of the proposed $100 million contribution. The extra $35 million, according to Fairfax investigations, will come from a viewing platform on the 90th floor of the tower which will be free for the public to use.

The document does show a slight win for the Melbourne City Council who had expressed discomfort in being left out of the development approval process for the 1 Queensbridge Tower. As part of the amendment clause, the Public Realm Improvements Plan must satisfy and be approved by the Council.

An amended Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Statement will also need to be provided before development and demonstrate that the building achieves a 5 star rating under a current version of Green Star - Multi Unit Residential rating tool or equivalent assessment and a one point for Wat-1 credit under a current version of the Green Building Council of Australia's Green Star Multi Unit Residential rating tool or equivalent.

Access the full gazetted document here or read the Public Realm Improvement Plans package information below.

The Plan must: a) provide detail of all proposed public realm works to:

i. Queensbridge Square, contribution to the value of $25 million including:

  • General upgrade of paving and planting with additional trees, as far as underground structures allow;
  • Design and installation of infrastructure for two new café opportunities (Sandridge Rail Bridge and Red Steps). Cafes to be developed under lease arrangement with Melbourne City Council. The Sandridge Rail Bridge location to include provisions for bridge access and transitioning to soften level difference;
  • New pedestrian access from Queens Bridge Street eastern footpath to southwest corner of Queens Bridge Square, providing a gradual transition to deal with the significant level difference (currently blocked by retaining walls and exhaust shafts). ii. Queens Bridge Street, contribution to the value of $10 million including:
  • Improve the look and feel of Queens Bridge Street through the removal of power and tram lines along the footpath (from Queensbridge Square to Power Street); · Upgrade the pedestrian experience and rationalise the grades along the Queens Bridge Street frontage to alleviate flooding (from Queensbridge Square to Power Street);
  • Upgrade paving and street furniture and incorporate street trees, as appropriate (from Queensbridge Square to Kings Way);
  • Regrade roadway paving (raise by +/- 100mm) to alleviate water ponding / flooding at tram stop crossings pursuant to concept design documentation provided by Melbourne City Council (from Queensbridge Square to Power Street);
  • Upgrade stormwater drainage collection points and rationalise with new paving grades (from Queensbridge Square to Power Street);
  • Install new 750 Stormwater Pipe and new Stormwater Discharge outlet between the project site and the river (from Queensbridge Square to Power Street.

iii. Sandridge Rail Bridge, contribution to the value of $15 million including:

  • Rehabilitate and landscape the western side of the old rail bridge (to complement the eastern side), with “New York High Line style” treatment, including rest areas;
  • Provide Disability Discrimination Act compliant access from Queensbridge Square to south-western end of bridge, about 6 metres higher (note- bridge hits north bank at grade); Melbourne Planning Scheme Page 11 of 20
  • Re-commission “Immigration Story” moving figures or provide an appropriate alternative concept.

iv. Southbank Boulevard, contribution to the value of $5 million including:

  • Extension of the proposed Southbank Boulevard linear park from City Road north to the “Red Stairs”;
  • Western side road narrowing with new green landscaping.

v. Southbank Promenade, contribution to the value of $10 million including:

  • Paving with bluestone and incorporation of a differentiated bike strip (pilot for other areas of Promenade);
  • Protect landscaping areas and direct water flow, to improve tree conditions.

b) incorporate urban design elements that include but are not limited to paving, lighting and seating, public art, and a clear demarcation of public realm and private space, including pedestrian bicycle and vehicle circulation;

 c) show the position, soil depths, type and spread of all trees within the public realm to maximise opportunities for deep soil planting;

d) detail how the project responds to water sensitive urban design principles, including how storm water will be mitigated, captured, cleaned and stored for onsite use and the location and type of irrigation systems to be used including the location of any rainwater tanks to be used for irrigation. These measures should be generally consistent with the Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Report prepared by Eco-Harvest Australia dated 1 March 2016;

e) include a planting schedule of all proposed trees, shrubs and ground covers, including botanical names, common names, pot sizes, sizes at maturity, and quantities of each plant;

f) include details of surface finishes of retaining walls, pathways, kerbs and laneways; and g) detail the ownership, maintenance regime and management responsibilities for the public realm improvements proposed.

16. All improvements and/or capital contributions associated with Sandridge Rail Bridge, Southbank Boulevard and Southbank Promenade shall be made before the Residential Hotel that is included in Stage 1 of the building is occupied. All improvements associated with Queensbridge Square and Queens Bridge Street shall be completed before the final completion and occupancy of Stage 2 of the building unless otherwise agreed under the Staging and Construction Management Plan. All works associated with the approved Public Realm Improvements Plan as outlined above must be completed in accordance with the endorsed plans to the satisfaction of the Melbourne City Council.