A Singapore billionaire has begun marketing apartments in a dilapidated Collins Street building after winning approval for a tower little more than half the size of the original 82-story proposal for the site.
Wooden hoardings have been erected around Enterprise House, a 25-story, concrete-ribbed, office tower that has sat vacant for several years. The building is expected to be demolished to make way for a shiny, fluted-glass, Bates Smart-designed residential tower on a site at 555 Collins Street owned by Fragrance Group's Koh Wee Meng, one of Singapore's richest men.
Fragrance purchased the tower for AU$78 million (US$59 million) in 2104 from Melbourne property developer Harry Stamoulis shortly after Stamoulis was granted a unique planning clause for the site by former planning minister Matthew Guy.
Guy, who is now state Opposition Leader, brought in an unusual rule that allowed a new building on the site to overshadow the Yarra River's northern bank – something not normally allowed in Melbourne's city center.
But Koh was caught out by a change of government and planning rules. Fragrance's proposal for an 82-story apartment, office, and hotel complex to replace Enterprise House was rejected by new planning minister Richard Wynne, prompting Fragrance to unsuccessfully offer the site for sale. Estimates at the time suggest the site had lost up to AU$18 million (US$13.5 million) in value.
After withdrawing it from the market in 2016, Fragrance finally gained planning approval for a 47-level residential tower in a negotiated settlement at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Significant modifications to its original proposal resulted in the tower's height being cut from 302 to 160 meters to avoid shadowing the Yarra, the ground floor being remodeled, and the apartment's interiors being redesigned.
The new building includes 625 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. It was given approval with a floor ratio of 1:24 and includes retail outlets and restaurants on the ground floor, a swimming pool, and four basements reserved for parking.
For more on this story, go to Sydney Morning Herald.