CostaFox proposes two towers around Robur Tea House

The Snøhetta design contains a hotel, offices and retail.


CostaFox has unveiled plans for two gold towers – one rising 25 storeys – around Southbank’s historic Robur Tea House.

A forecourt forms part of the public benefit CostaFox needs to prove its project includes.

Designed by Oslo’s Snøhetta, and with placemaking by New York’s ERA Co, the proposal includes a 154 suite hotel, 21 private apartments and 4742 square metres of offices.

The lower floors will contain 1438 sqm of retail.

CostaFox paid $28m for the 2944 sqm site, 28-34 Clarendon Street, last August; at the north west corner of Normanby St, it neighbours the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and is opposite Crown Casino’s main entrance.

The owner’s plan replaces a more ambitious proposal put forward in 2017 which contained a 39 level apartment tower.

Robur Tea House redevelopment

Built in 1887 for manufacturing stationers Fergus and Mitchell, the warehouse took its name from a later occupant.

With six floors, it was for years the tallest building outside of the CBD.

Snøhetta’s design steeps tower height as the project moves south of the Yarra River.

The smaller, C-shaped North Building will rise three floors at its lowest – preserving the Robur Tea House view from the CBD (story continues below).

Robur Tea House, for years the tallest building outside of the CBD, will act as the hotel entrance and lobby.

It will contain offices, associated end-of-trip facilities, retail and 40 bicycle parks.

A 210 sqm landscaped forecourt will be developed in the setback; this element forms part of the public benefit required by the government for major projects.

The more substantial South Building will house the guesthouse – to be branded Tea House Hotel – accessed from a porte cochere entrance and with a pool (artist’s impression, top), gym, wellness centre and 12th floor garden.

The residences, including two penthouses, will also be contained in this tower.

An open-to-the-public podium is configured with restaurants and a bar.

Both buildings will contain two levels of basement car parks – all up with 70 spaces.

CostaFox director Michael Fox adds that its planned office refurbishment of the Robur Tea House building’s upper levels will be premium standard.

Of the overall proposal, he said, “the plan was to create an international hotel with branded residences, a complete refurbishment of the old Tea House building that will include world class retail and hospitality offerings together with a new public realm and forecourt”.

“This corner…needs transformation and our plan is not just about rejuvenating the 130 year old Tea House building, which has been empty for three years, but to reinvigorate the whole western end of the city”, according to the developer.

Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

CostaFox paid $28m for the Southbank site making way for the project.
A proposed hotel entrance (top, left) and the building from Normanby Street (right).

Share or Recommend article

Marc Pallisco

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