Melbourne Plans 82-Storey 404-Metre Office Tower, But May Cast Shadow Over Yarra River

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 26, 2013 8:31 AM EST

Melbourne is planning to join the ranks of cities with landmark skyscrapers as city officials disclosed the proposed 82-storey 404-metre office tower by the Stamoulis Group.

The blueprint needs the final approval of Minister of Planning Matthew Guy who has apparently shown his support for the venture by easing current restrictions that bans overshadowing of the Yarra River.

The planned skyscraper has the potential of casting a long shadow on the river and maybe all the way to City Road, a councilor had warned.

Among the changes that Mr Guy made are the lifting of controls, including the overshadowing of the river, said Ken Ong, chairman of the Melbourne City Council's planning committee.

For approving the 19 skyscrapers across Melbourne and the 108 Tower in Southbank which is 388 metres high, Mr Guy has been called by residents as Mr Skyscraper, amid concerns that he is altering the city's skyline but for the worst.

Melbourne residents are concerned that the tall towers makes the city more unlivable due to more wind, shade and traffic as more skyscrapers sprout in the central business district.

Mr Guy said he is aware of the apprehension expressed by Melbourne residents and is open to receiving their feedback about the proposal before he makes a decision on the project proponent's permit application.

State policy backs a high density CBD and high rises because of limits to unsustainable urban growth amid projections of the city's headcount expected to rise to 6.5 million in the next 40 years from the current 4.1 million, according to the Victoria in Future Report 2012.

The 108 Tower, designed by architect Nonda Katsalidis, created controversy because of its overshadowing the Shrine of Remembrance and originally going beyond the area's height cap for towers of 100 metres.

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