East Melbourne readies for nine, 12 storey buildings

The Epworth site has been developed since 1935.

Epworth Hospital is delivering a blow to owners of the city’s priciest apartments – and developers wanting to build more – with a 12-level building overlooking Fitzroy Gardens.

The East Melbourne proposal will block eastern suburb aspect of a nine-storey complex which Orchard Piper has just won permission to build, at 364-370 Albert Street.

Heritage Victoria is reviewing an Epworth proposal for a 14-level tower at 166 Clarendon St.

It will also affect views of north facing dwellings at Salta’s 150 Clarendon St – considered the city’s most exclusive residential complex.

Epworth intends to construct the glass tower in the airspace of the historic and extended hospital (166 Clarendon St) – over a podium it recently built facing Albert St.

The owner recently completed a 10-level project on another part of its East Melbourne holding facing Grey St.

In 2019, Mirvac and Freemasons Victoria finished a 14-level residential complex, Eastbourne, at 280 Albert St.

Sydney based boutique builder Luxcon also won permission to create a 12 storey apartment building at 372-380 Albert St.

364-370 Albert Street, East Melbourne

Orchard Piper’s nine floor project will cover a 1200 sqm site.

A three level Victorian will be refit as a townhouse and merge a basement car park to offices, and six levels of apartments.

All up there will be 14 dwellings.

The project’s end value is c$120m (story continues below).

The Orchard Piper site (outlined).

It is the sixth development Orchard Piper will undertake with Jolson Architecture and Interiors – but its first mixed-use.

“We have been actively acquiring sites through COVID with a view to significantly bolstering our pipeline as we move into more substantial projects in Melbourne’s best locations,” director Luke McKie said.

“This East Melbourne project has been designed in direct response to more than 13 years of market feedback from our local owner occupiers,” he added.

Elsewhere, around Treasury Gardens, a major apartment tower is earmarked for a small arcade behind the Harry Seidler designed 1 Spring St.

Fitzroy Gardens apartments not behaving like a rare commodity yet

While its foreseeable that apartment developers will run of Fitzroy Gardens sites soon – the area hasn’t behaved like a tightly held one over the past decade.

In particular, unit onsales at 150 Clarendon St have sold for below purchase costs – or not at all despite their uniqueness and buyers being in the market.

At times, and incorporating 35 Spring St in the CBD, several similar park-side units are for sale at the same time.

Sizeable body corporate fees are also a negative demand factor, residential real estate agents say.

In coming years at least one more park-front East Melbourne residential complex is mooted – by Pask Group at 254-260 Albert St.

That project will block Eastbourne’s eastern aspect.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.