Architects -Design Competition winners:
Master Plan: NH Architecture
Building 1: McBride Charles Ryan
Building 2: NH Architecture
Building 3: Minifie Nixon
Building 4: Denton Corker Marshall
Building 5: Ashton Raggatt McDougall
RMIT Design Hub : Sean Godsell/Peddle Thorp
From Grocon:$800m remedy for one of the city's least lovely sites
Ben Schneiders and David Rood
October 31, 2006
ONE of Melbourne's oldest and ugliest "bomb sites" finally appears set to be redeveloped, with an $800 million office and retail plan for the corner of Swanston and Victoria streets.
Developer Grocon confirmed yesterday it had paid $39 million to RMIT for most of the former Carlton and United Breweries site, in a deal approved by the State Government.
RMIT will retain a prime part of the site to build a postgraduate research centre. However, most of the redevelopment of the site, which was demolished in 1989, will be on Grocon's portion.
The 1.9-hectare site, of which Grocon has bought 1.6 hectares, has become an embarrassment to governments with a series of proposals not getting off the ground. A casino, a head office for John Elliott's Elders and a new headquarters for ANZ are all failed projects for the site.
Grocon managing director Daniel Grollo said yesterday he hoped to start building by the end of 2007 — once the proposal had gone through the planning process. The project would be on a similar scale to Grocon's QV development, he said.
The proposal is to include a series of lanes as well as a mix of office, retail and residential space and to have a tower at the city end that will rise as high as 50 levels.
"It will have varying heights obviously diminishing out to Carlton," Mr Grollo said.
The buildings will fall to between 15 to 20 levels in the middle section of the development and 10 to 12 levels at the Carlton end. Mr Grollo said there would also be a public promenade extending from Swanston Street with views of the Shrine of Remembrance.
The project's design could change because of the planning process and the demands of future tenants, he said.
The Grocon proposal would "extend and bridge the CBD grid and Carlton grid" said project architect Roger Nelson, from NH Architecture.
A property source said it was a "bold move", particularly as he believed it was not the best location for office development. "I don't think it would be a good idea," the source added.
Possible corporate tenants include Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and Australia Post, sources said.
Grocon's David Hodgson was confident about the project's prospects despite its speculative nature.
He said it would include 120,000 square metres of office space, 60,000 of residential, 12,000 of retail and 1500 car spaces. The project could include as many as 600 residential units, although whether they were aimed at students, were serviced apartments or for some other market would depend on industry conditions, Mr Hodgson said.
RMIT vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said the university's section would focus on postgraduate research.
The sale is welcome news for the university, which is recovering from a troubled financial past stemming from a faulty computer system that caused a $17.7 million loss in 2002.
Professor Gardner said RMIT posted a surplus of more than $25 million at the end of 2005 and expected a similar result this year. "This sale is not about RMIT's financial position. We conducted a property survey in 2003, which identified how much property we needed to retain," she said.
The university bought the site in 1998 for $25 million. The money from the sale will be reinvested in capital works and facilities.
The redevelopment of the site will retain the heritage aspects of the old Malthouse theatre and the bluestone wall fronting Bouverie Street, Mr Grollo said.
Towering: the proposal for the Carlton brewery site, unused for two decades.
From: Herald Sun 26/7/2007: Mary Bolling
A TOWERING cluster of contrasting buildings will complete the city's distinctive perimeter, with a healthy nod to Melbourne's beer-drinking heritage.
Developer Grocon has unveiled challenging plans for the old CUB brewery site on Swanston St, empty for nearly two decades.
Five architectural firms have designed five distinct buildings for the 1.6ha site, including a 50-storey tower and striking glass archways.
Grocon has dubbed the $1 billion development "the Carlton Brewery", and plans to enshrine the site's important history.
Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said the plans, which are waiting on a council planning permit, were sensitive to heritage concerns.
"We think the heritage of the site is very important, hence the name of the site," Mr Grollo said.
He said spaces and monuments in the development would pay tribute to historical features.
The development will also preserve the historic bluestone walls and malthouse that were part of the brewery, built in 1862.
NHArchitecture will oversee the master plan. Firms Denton Corker Marshall, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, McBride Charles Ryan, Minifie Nixon will each be responsible for a building.
NHA principal Roger Nelson said the uses of each building were yet to be decided, but the project would deliver 120,000sq m of offices and 600 apartments.
There will be 150 underground parking spaces.
Mr Nelson said it would be the fourth major landmark on the city's circumference, completing the points of the compass.
"On the south, there's the Yarra River and the railways; to the east, you've got Parliament House and the gardens," he said.
"And. . . the west side is Docklands and Spencer St, which adds a whole new topology.
"That's what the Carlton Brewery will do. It will become an icon, like Federation Square."
Mr Grollo said work would start on the site halfway through next year, once preliminary tenants had been found.THE AGE.
By Clay Lucas
July 26, 2007
A RADICAL $800 million plan for the derelict Carlton and United Breweries site will give Melbourne's civic centre a fitting counterbalance to the Shrine of Remembrance.
Developer Grocon, which last year bought the 1.6-hectare site from RMIT for $39 million, yesterday unveiled its designs for the Swanston Street site.
Five of Melbourne's most progressive architects have been selected to design a mix of offices, shops and apartments for the site, which has lain dormant since the 1980s. The brewery was demolished in 1989.
The plans released yesterday are only preliminary drawings, but are likely to closely resemble final designs for buildings that will begin rising by late 2008, Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said yesterday.
Grocon's previous projects include Crown Casino, the QV Centre and the Rialto.
Among the designs is a plan by leading Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall for the site's pivotal building: a 20- storey office tower facing down Swanston Street towards the Shrine of Remembrance in St Kilda Road.
Architect Howard Raggatt said the building would be a new gateway to Melbourne, akin to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Shrine of Remembrance was a "profoundly symbolic element" of Melbourne's city centre, Mr Raggatt said, and it was crucial a significant building at the other end of the city faced the Shrine.
"The old brewery on the CUB site told a very iconic Aussie story about Melbourne: a brewery at one end of the city, and the Anzac march and the death-and-glory material at the other," he said. "The brewery was a little bit ocker, but maybe there's now an opportunity for something more significant on this site."
Architectural firms Denton Corker Marshall, McBride Charles Ryan, Minifie Nixon and NHArchitecture will also work on the site.
The taller buildings - including Denton Corker Marshall's 50-storey tower - will be built near the city end of the site, with lower structures tapering off towards Melbourne University.
The Royal Australian Institute of Architect's Victorian president Philip Goad welcomed the plans. But he warned that the "wonderful monumental gestures" in the designs could be harmed if market forces pushed the development the wrong way. "We can only hope these great ideas do not fall victim to a speculative property play," he said.
The plans will now go to the Government, with Planning Minister Justin Madden expected to make a judgement by the end of the year.