THE City of Melbourne last week unveiled plans for what has been described as Australia's most sustainable mixed-use development on the Council-owned Munro site as part the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) Precinct Renewal.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the proposed development by PDG Corporation would deliver a $89.7 million public benefit to the City North precinct. The development will include a hotel, residential apartments and complementary retail space, as well as car parking for market customers.
Other features of the development include 56 affordable housing units, a 120 place childcare facility, a maternal, child health and family services centre, a community centre and kitchen, artist spaces and city room gallery.
"Council purchased this strategic site for $76 million to safeguard its future and ensure we could deliver the vital services the community of the future will need. We didn't want to see a poor quality apartment tower there or a major supermarket moving in next to the market," Cr Doyle said.
"We have incorporated design elements that honour Queen Victoria Market's rich and diverse history, including brickwork to reflect the existing Mercat Hotel façade, which will be retained.
"A 196-metre tower at the eastern end of the Munro site allows us to build a sleek and elegant building with a low rise community hub on Queen Street, as opposed to a smaller tower which would be bulky and imposing.
"Another key priority was to ensure the site would not be overdeveloped; the floor area ratio of 15.4:1 is lower than the 18:1 which is permitted in the CBD. The design of high quality residential apartments is an exemplar of the Better Apartments design standards."
The Lord Mayor said that the public-private model is also markedly different to most as our land will be used to benefit the public, rather than repaying a private partner in interest.
"In addition to building Council's largest community hub in Melbourne, this development will set a new standard as the best socially, environmentally and financially sustainable development in Australia," Cr Doyle said.
"Later this year, Council will start work on the biggest market renewal in the world right now which will ensure that QVM stays part of our city forever.
"This exemplar development will enable us to move customer car parking below ground and turn the existing car park into 1.5 hectares of public open space, which will further enhance the already vibrant culture of our much-loved market. If we don't do Munro we can't do the Queen Victoria Market Renewal Project.
"Council looks forward to working with the State Government to progress this outstanding project."
PDG Corporation's Managing Director, Vince Giuliano, said the company is looking forward to lodging the planning application in the near future.
"PDG has worked closely with the City of Melbourne and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to design this exemplar sustainable development with substantial public benefits at this important site within the Queen Victoria Market precinct," Mr Giuliano said.
"The proposal for the Munro site has been developed in response to its immediate and emerging context, the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Master Plan and the independent panel's built form control recommendations put forward in Amendment C245.
"The site is divided into two parcels, east and west, and separated by a proposed central north-south laneway. A slender tower at the eastern end atop a podium has generous setbacks from all boundaries reducing the visual impact on the Market and the proposed Market Square. Moreover, the lower scale of the western community building will act as a visual buffer between the tower and Market Square.
"The proposal includes a network of pedestrian laneways and a new public square. The brick facades of the 20 metre street edge buildings on Therry and Queen streets respond to the low rise heritage character of the market.
"PDG Corporation has already received strong interest from prospective purchasers and families looking to reside in this quality community focused development and, to date, this demand has exceeded the proposed number of available dwellings. It is re-assuring to know that the development of the Munro site, together with the City of Melbourne's proposed upgrades for the Queen Victoria Market, will be a popular and highly sought after location to live."
An amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme (Planning Scheme Amendment C245) is currently with the Minister for Planning for approval as the Responsible Authority. The Amendment will help Council deliver on the renewal Master Plan by better connecting the city with the market precinct: allowing us to create better streets, new laneways and a significant new public space.
PDG Corporation will lodge the Munro site development application with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) for consideration by the Minister for Planning as the Responsible Authority following gazettal of Amendment C245.