Skinny Skyscraper to Replace Historic La Trobe Street Building, Melbourne

Developed in 1876, GMK House was for years a city ambulance base. Between 2006 and 2010, it was owner-occupied by struggling private college Carrick Institute of Education – which sold it to Argo Pty Ltd, a company controlled by Mr Kabo, in July 2010 for $4.6 million.

With just 12 metres frontage to La Trobe Street, the 589 square metre site is earmarked for a 32-level tower with 216 flats, most of which will be configured with one bedroom. A four level underground car park – utilising car stackers – will provide 64 parking bays.

The Elenberg Fraser designed tower will occupy about 82 per cent – or 464 square metres – of the block’s land area, and rise 104 metres. Melbourne City Council is reviewing the application.

Last December, the owners of Flinders Street’s popular Phoenix Bar closed the venue so the 163 square metre block could be replaced with a 29-level, 28-unit apartment tower that will rise 88.5 metres.

Their proposal, for a site with just 6.7 metres road frontage, was approved after a 41-level application was rejected by both council and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

At 276 Russell Street, and on a 381 square metre block behind the State Library buildings, VCAT this year approved the construction of a 36-level, 117 metre tower – Crystal Gardens – which would have 154 flats but no car parks.

In South Yarra, a controversial development at the prominent south-west corner of Chapel Street and Alexandra Avenue, and with units that will overlook Melbourne High School, quietly increased in density last month – from 99 to 180 flats.


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Marc Pallisco

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