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Victoria fast-tracks seven-tower Melbourne development

Bates Smart’s rendering of its planned scheme
Vicinity Centres, an Australian real estate investment trust, has won approval for a US$1bn residential development in Melbourne, The Urban Developer reports

The Box Hill project will consist of 1,700 apartments in seven towers, three of which will be higher than 40 storeys.

They will be arranged around a Suburban Rail Loop station in the east of the city. There will also be shops, offices and a mixed-use precinct with plaza.

The masterplan was designed by local architect Bates Smart, a practice founded in 1853.

Vicinity, which previously specialised in shopping malls, submitted its masterplan to Whitehorse City Council in 2022.

It then found itself in an appeals process, and resubmitted the scheme to the State of Victoria’s “Development Facilitation Programme”, which provides a fast-track for projects that will boost the state’s economy, provide jobs and create homes.

The development was eligible because its investment value was greater than A$50m and it contained 10% affordable housing, the threshold amount.

A Vicinity Centres spokesperson told The Urban Developer that the approval brought the company “another step closer to realising our vision to revitalise the heart of Box Hill’s central business district”.

The government of Victoria has set the target of building 800,000 homes over the next 10 years.

“Box Hill is one of our fastest growing communities and this project will bring more than 1,700 new homes right next to the Suburban Rail Loop—helping … deliver more homes close to jobs, services and great public transport,” planning minister Sonya Kilkenny said.

The scheme is based on the Suburban Rail Loop, a 90km line that is presently being constructed. The aim is to improve the city’s horizontal connections, allowing commuters to travel between suburbs without going into the centre of town (See further reading).

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