Arden 2.0 at a glance

A proposed civic centre will be surrounded by major buildings.

A revised structure plan affecting Arden, in Melbourne’s inner north west, has been made public for consultation ahead of a likely implementation by planning minister Richard Wynne next year.

The Victorian Planning Authority document replaces a concept created in 2012 – a year before the region was designated for a Metro Tunnel station.

Now, the 46 hectare precinct is master-planned for substantially taller buildings – up to 40 storeys along the train line west of Laurens Street, land presently controlled by VicTrack.

Both sides of Arden St would accommodate 20 level towers except the showroom presently occupied by Nick Theodossi Prestige Cars, where 18 floors would be allowed.

The shortest buildings, which would still rise three storeys, would be contained in the blocks between Dryburgh, Queensberry and Victoria streets, and Munster Terrace.

A state primary school is earmarked at the as-yet-unbuilt south west corner of Queensberry and Laurens streets.

A recreation reserve will replace buildings, including the Lost Dogs Home, between the tree-lined Gracie, Green and Henderson streets.

Arden station is due to open in 2025.

Arden plan amended

Upon completion – up to 30 years from now – Arden is expected to accommodate approximately 34,000 workers and 15,000 residents.

It will have four defined sub-precincts where building is allowed:

Arden North from the south east corner of Macaulay Rd and Langford St to the top of the Arden Street Oval and proposed recreation space.

As well as residential, the VPA is anticipating this area be a hub for creative industries, with offices alongside bars, restaurants and shops.

A microbrewery has also been suggested here.

Arden Central [innovation precinct] bound by Arden, Laurens and Queensberry streets, and the train line – all of which is controlled by VicTrack. Properties on the north side of Arden St, including the CityWide complex, also form part of this pocket.

Accommodating the train station – putting it a couple of minutes from Parkville – this precinct is expected to be a bio-technology and medical research hub, with a large anchor occupier anticipated.

Residential product is master-planned too (story continues below).

Arden Central [mixed use precinct] bordered by Laurens and Victoria streets, and the train line.

Residential, extensive retail, and essential services, including galleries and medical centres, are expected in this section, which would also accommodate Arden’s tallest towers.

This pocket will contain the school and civic centre too.

Laurens Street [precinct] bound by Arden, Dryburgh, Laurens and Victoria streets.

Less dense residential and SOHO-type offices are anticipated.

A linear park connecting Arden to Victoria streets is also planned.

Seven years since E-Gate

Melbourne Greens MP, Ellen Sandell, has described the amendment as deeply flawed.

“The structure plan has no investment in public or social housing, despite it being the perfect location,” she said.

“On current plans, Arden will become almost as dense as the CBD, with bulky apartment towers the dominant building type in Arden Central,” according to the politician.

“The bad faith consultation process to come, with the structure plan and proposed planning controls being exhibited and consulted on together, [suggests] the government is not interested in genuine community feedback”.

The consultation period closes on October 11 with any draft amendments set to be submitted to Mr Wynne in the second quarter of next year.

The revised Arden structure plan comes seven years since the Napthine government issued a tender calling on the private sector to construct a high-density village on a parcel known as E-Gate, between Arden and the CBD.

That plan is deemed effectively shelved with the Andrews government later approving the Western Distributor, which will connect Citylink and the West Gate Freeway, near Footscray Rd.

Arden North buildings would front Gracie, Henderson and Langford streets, and Macaulay Road.
Arden Central will contain an innovation precinct.
The four precincts of Arden.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of