But now – the south-west corner of the CBD, and in particular the Flinders Street block between Spencer and King streets, has become hot property, with construction about to start on yet another major building.
Melbourne-based developer Deal Corporation has unveiled plans for Aura, a $100 million, 26-level hotel and apartment development, which will include a new retail-based laneway, Katherine Place, as well as a luxury sky rise restaurant and bar.
The Hayball Architect designed project at 534 Flinders Street, on the western corner of Katherine Place, will include 108 serviced apartments, spread over 9 levels, and upon completion, will be leased to the Punt Hill Group.
The development will include a further 108 “Own-Your-Own” apartments, spread over the upper eleven levels, of which about two thirds have sold to investors and owner occupiers. The Aura project will include full conference facilities, as well as a gym, pool and spa for its occupants.
Deal Corporation managing director David Kobritz, says the removal of the Flinders Street overpass, as well as the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the ongoing development of the Docklands, gave his company the confidence to buy a development site in the once-neglected city pocket two years ago.
The Melbourne Aquarium, Crown Casino, the new Melbourne Convention Centre and soon-to-be-rebranded Etihad Stadium (currently known as the Telstra Dome) are also walking distance to the Deal Corporation site.
Mr Kobritz says construction of Aura will commence by April next year, and conclude by March 2011.
Next door to Aura, developer Brady Group recently developed its 29-level, 284-unit “Eifel Apartments” building, which includes serviced apartments leased to Medina, and a 15-level, 114-unit building at 546 Flinders Street.
At 560 Flinders Street, developer Monreid is planning a $35 million, 29-level strata office building.
Across the road, a 10,000 square metre office building, part of Far East Consortium’s Northbank project, is nearing completion and due to settle next month.
Two residential towers, also part of the Northbank project and including a total of about 380 apartments are still under construction and due to settle at various stages next year.
All apartments in this project, wedged between Spencer Street, King Street and train tracks connecting Southern Cross and Flinders Street train stations, were sold off-the-plan to investors and owner occupiers.
Deal Corporation’s other projects include the ERA mixed use apartment, retail and office project, on the site of an 1850s fairground, on the banks of the Yarra River in the Richmond pocket of Cremorne.
Its development portfolio also includes the Arkana office building in Dandenong, major apartment projects in Chadstone and Knox, and the $200 million Polaris 3083 mixed use town centre in Bundoora.