South Yarra’s best development site to make way for offices, shops and public plaza

It is arguably South Yarra’s best development site, but most locals wouldn’t realise it was there.

Airspace, atop rail lines across the road from the South Yarra train station, is set to make way for a mixed-use complex and park, following approval by the City of Stonnington council.

Henderson Toorak Road Consortium (HTRC) which is headed by Vicland Property Group is behind the complex on VicTrack-controlled land known in planning circles as 162 and 164 Toorak Road.

The proposal (pictured top, left and bottom) will include 1000 square metres of retail space, 850 sqm of food and beverage area and 650 sqm of offices.

An additional public plaza – spreading 1500 sqm – and a new thoroughfare connecting Toorak Road to the triangle-shaped South Yarra Siding Reserve, is also planned.

Bruce Henderson Architects has penned the project. This firm’s offices are built into the former South Yarra Post Office, next door to the HTRC proposal.

VicTrack threw its support behind the project last year. The government arm has been active in recent years seeking to redevelop infill sites it controls abutting road and rail infrastructure.

Coincidentally, the city’s first large-scale development over rail lines occurred at a South Yarra site now known as 529 Chapel Street.

This airspace made way for a multi-level complex containing shops – and an office which was once owner-occupied by Vicland Property Group director Bill McNee (this commercial space was said to be Australia’s “best office” when it sold for $6.8 million in 2016).

Vicland Property Group development manager Jake Steinhart said the Chapel Street project gave the developer the confidence that their vision for 162 and 164 Toorak Road could become a reality.

Earlier this year, private Melbourne developer Deal Corp obtained planning approval to build an eight-level complex with 114 apartments on a 2700 sqm Glen Iris site at 287 Burke Road recently created through a revamp of the train station and rail crossing.

However, local developer SMA Projects, directed by Martin Strode, was not so successful – the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month rejecting a 20-level apartment project which was mooted to straddle train tracks beside the Windsor station – a site known at 24 Chapel Street.

Mr Steinhart said it is a credit to Victrack, and the relationships it is creating with Melbourne developers, to create community benefits on under-utilised land.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, Vicland recently completed construction of a 38-storey apartment complex on airspace above a historic building for years occupied by Nightingale Electrics, at 420 Spencer Street, West Melbourne, on the south-east corner of Dudley Street.

In Queensland’s Fortitude Valley, the developer is – without bank funding – building 250 apartments as part of a $185 million residential complex, The Coterie.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of realestatesource.com.au

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