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Farinia Group and Government work together on King street development

Market insights
5 years ago
4 minutes

This 64-storey mixed-use project will set the tone for the future growth of Melbourne’s King Street. 

A predominantly residential development, 295-309 King Street comprises two existing sites at the north-western corner of King and Little Lonsdale streets – an area earmarked by the Victorian Government for high-density urban renewal.

Developed by Farinia Group, a company associated with Lofts Quarries, the developers have had their original plans altered, due to complaints from a local council. The project was decreased in height, and the developers have been commended, publicly, by the Victorian Government for their cooperation.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has reached a compromise with the developer of a King Street tower, giving final approval for a new CBD tower which will generate construction jobs and complement the surrounding area.

The proposal for the King Street site was submitted before Mr Wynne introduced interim planning controls in 2015, meaning the application had to be considered under the rules which applied when it was made.

Given the lack of planning provisions to guide CBD development prior to the interim controls, Mr Wynne and the Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning sought to work with the developer in order to come to an agreement following concerns the original proposal would overwhelm the site.

“This project is in a part of the city undergoing transformation where we are encouraging well-designed development to accommodate Melbourne’s population growth," said Minister for Planning Richard Wynne.

“We will continue to work in good faith with the property industry to negotiate good outcomes and push for quality projects.” 

The site is in a part of the city considered ripe for high-density residential development and the approved design is 209.8 metres high, compared to the 268.75 metres originally proposed.

Total apartment numbers fell from the original 603 to 431, and rather than the 99 studios first proposed, the final design has no studios and a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Setbacks from the street have also been increased.

The project is one of several inner-city proposals which have been approved following more work to encourage more variety in apartment sizes and bedroom configurations and better interaction with the streetscape.

Work is ongoing for new CBD controls which allow for high-density development which does not overwhelm the streetscape and for new apartment guidelines and will be released for further consultation later this year.

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure the investment appetite for the CBD continues by protecting the Hoddle Grid’s character and liveability.

The project includes 431 apartments, a range of one, two and three-bedroom, plus nine luxury penthouse apartments.

Inspired by Brancusi’s ‘Bird in Space’ 1923, the development’s sculptural circular tower will become a unifying presence within Melbourne’s city skyline. And at street level, the design is beautifully integrated with its urban landscape. 

The creation of meaningful connections has been an important guiding principle in this project’s design – it has been designed to make strong visual and contextual connections with its environment, and it also provides opportunities for building strong connections between its future residents. 

One level of the project has been dedicated to communal amenities and shared residential activities.

At street level, where the tower’s circular form allows generous corner setbacks, the development will include both retail and laneway lobbies and cafes will spill out on to the street, inviting people in. 

For this level, Plus Architecture has drawn inspiration from Melbourne’s street life, where historic bluestone-paved streets intersect with modern design, imagining a contemporary, Jenga-like form that is at once familiar and striking.

From the street level, an elegant, fluid tower rises into the sky, reaching a height of 208 metres. 

The tower, with a facade of shimmering, iridescent glass, comprises three sections: the base, an upper, flared section that offers views of Flagstaff Gardens and beyond, and a central transitional section that connects the base to the soaring form above.