$150m Abbotsford development approved

YARRA Council has approved a $150 million development in Victoria Street, Abbotsford at a special meeting of council last night at Richmond Town Hall. Council voted 5 to 3 in favour of the application.

Yarra Mayor Cr Jane Garrett said the Council issued a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit to the applicant, Hamton JV, for a 586-apartment development at 677-679 Victoria Street, Abbotsford (also known as the Honeywell site).

The subject land is located on the northern side of Victoria Street in Abbotsford and zoned Business 5 (B5Z), which aims to encourage the development of offices or multi-dwelling units with common access from the street. The Yarra River forms the east and north boundary of the site. The site is also the last site in the City of Yarra, with the City of Boroondara located east of the site.

The proposal involved two planning permit applications for a large-scale, three-staged redevelopment of the site. Two existing office buildings will be replaced with a mixed-use development, consisting mainly of residential development. The second application concerned external works (such as a pontoon, landscaping works and connections to the Capital City Trail).

The new development will consist of a 3-4 level podium with three separate buildings above, rising up to 11 storeys on Victoria Street. There will be approximately 586 apartments, two restaurants, a cafe, office suites, medical centre, yoga studio, bike hire shop and convenience shop. The developer will also create a new cyclist and pedestrian pathway from Victoria Street through to the Yarra River and the Capital City Trail. Hamton JV has been reported as 'intending' to apply for Federal Government funding under the National Rental Scheme to provide 180 of the apartments as affordable rental properties.

The application received around 1,100 objections, including a number of objections on the grounds the proposal does not comply with the Boroondara Planning Scheme, the municipality located directly opposite the subject site. On their website, Yarra River Action Alliance said "we are stunned and appalled that the environmental issues and the community's views could count for so littleā€¦ People are vowing to fight on."

Cr Garrett said the approved development met local and state planning guidelines, and was in line with Council's identification of the site as a Strategic Redevelopment Site several years ago. "As Melbourne's population continues to increase, Council needs to be responsible and strategic in how we ensure housing needs are met," she said.

"Directing higher density development towards strategic redevelopment sites reduces the pressure for intensive developments in Yarra's heritage and low-rise residential areas, and in the green wedges outside our City," Cr Garrett said.

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