VCAT approves $500m Northcote Plaza development

Also this week, Vicinity was approved to develop a $2 billion Box Hill village with a 51 level apartment tower and 25 storey office.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has given Time & Place the green light to replace part of the Northcote Plaza with a mixed-use project (artist’s impression, top) topped with an 18 storey apartment tower.

VCAT last May approved a redevelopment of Fitzroy North’s Piediemonte’s site.

The $500 million proposal is master-planned with over 600 dwellings – some 10 per cent which will be allocated as Build to Rent investments – in four buildings; more units will be managed by a social housing operator.

Dubbed Northcote Green, the proposal also includes about 6500 square metres of retail on the ground level.

An additional 15,000 sqm of A-grade office are will be contained within a three floor podium over the shops and and six storey standalone building near All Nations Park.

Time & Place expects to start construction by mid-next year; it is expected to be complete by late 2025.

The developer paid $60m for the component of the Northcote Plaza earmarked for the development last year.

That seller, Les Smith’s LAS Group, outlaid $35m in 2019 with a concept plan for a mixed-use complex with a 28 level building, also expected to carry a c$500m end value.

Northcote development wave runs 20 years

The location is near another part of the Northcote Plaza which made way for the 10 level Acacia, one of the first major suburban apartment towers developed following the controversial (and now redundant) Melbourne 2030 policy, introduced in 2002.

“We know this is an engaged community which wants the best possible outcomes for their neighbourhood,” Time & Place director, Tim Price, said.

“We share this commitment and are dedicated to achieving something that truly enhances the existing plaza (story continues below).

“We absolutely see this as now being one of Melbourne’s most iconic suburbs and the need for improved retail and convenience offerings”.

The permit approval comes eight months since Lucent paid over $20m for a 6131 sqm medium density residential site – formerly a bacon and cured meat manufacturing plant – at 84-96 Bastings Road, Northcote.

Developers have also snapped up blocks for apartment in the suburb at 340-342 High St and 43-47 Simpson.

Retail to be replaced with offices, housing

Penned by Fender Katsalidis, the Northcote Plaza development will replace 18,000 sqm of shopping space until recently occupied by Kmart and one of two Coles supermarkets at the centre (Coles leased this former Bi Lo tenancy in 2006 to stop rival Woolworths moving in).

Time & Place said it will manage the interchange between its owned area and the balance of the mall, controlled by an Owners Corporation.

“Once a more working class inner north postcode, Northcote is now regarded as Melbourne’s most liveable suburb,” Mr Price, said, referring to a 2021 PricewaterhouseCoopers study.

“This is underpinned by the high quality of parks and open spaces, public transport, food and beverage offerings, location and access to the CBD and other suburbs and, importantly, it has culturally been embraced by Melbourne’s young professionals and families as the gentrification of the older generation has occurred,” he added.

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Marc Pallisco

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