Civic Precinct and build-to-rent apartment among $1bn projects brought forward

Quintessential Equity's Civic Precinct in Geelong
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THE Victorian government has approved a further $1 billion worth of building projects across the state, aimed to kickstart the economy and the weakened construction sector out of the coronavirus crisis.

Since March, 91 new and amended planning permits for projects with a combined development value of more than $6 billion have been approved.

In the most recent announcement, the newly created Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce fast-tracked seven projects. Headlining those are the $291 million, two tower residential development that will kick off Lendlease’s Collins Wharf project at 938 Collins St in Docklands, featuring 668 apartments.

They follow recent approvals of $1.2 billion worth of development projects and a separate tranche of $3.5 billion of developments, including what will be Australia’s tallest tower, as well as $2.7 billion of wider building and infrastructure projects.

“Now more than ever, Victoria needs a strong building and development sector, and we’re making sure this industry can continue to thrive all over the state, despite the challenges of coronavirus,” Victorian Planning Minister, Richard Wynne said.

Among the latest raft of approvals is Quintessential Equity’s $220 million project that will deliver a new six storey head office for the City of Geelong is on the list. Located at 137 Mercer St and designed by Cox Architecture, it will also include a 12 level office building owned and managed by Quintessential Equity, as well as a 2,600 square metre public precinct. Investment of the precinct is shared between the City of Geelong and Quintessential Equity.

Builder Watpac Limited has been appointed and construction is set to begin on the new Council headquarters in August. Completion is slated for mid-2022.

Projects across Melbourne’s suburbs that have been approved include $250 million development at 31 Station St, Caulfield that Planning Minister Richard Wynne had called in from VCAT. It includes a build-to-rent scheme, affordable housing, a supermarket, retail and office space.

On the Taskforce’s advice, the Planning Minister is also in the process of calling in projects that have stalled with council or VCAT. To date, six projects totalling $750 million have been called in.

A $110 million nine-story building at 285A Burke Rd, next to Gardiner train station in Glen Iris, will deliver 11 dwellings funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and a $70 million development at in Kensington at 346-350 Macaulay Rd will bring six multi-level buildings with a total of 426 dwellings and retail space.

In North Melbourne, two multi-storey apartment buildings at 103-109 and 115-117 Boundary Rd in North Melbourne with retail and office space, valued at $41.2 million, were approved.

Rounding out the approvals is A $200 million solar farm at Kennedys Creek, near Benalla in the state’s north east, and which will generate 115 megawatts of power, enough for over 50,000 households.

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