City of Melbourne councillors will consider a plan to invest $232 million in revitalising almost an entire central-city block, creating a public commons precinct of connected laneways and community spaces.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the proposed redevelopment between Bourke Street and Little Collins Street would revitalise retail and commercial opportunities in the central city.

“This redevelopment will create a new landmark for Melbourne in terms of sustainable urban design and how we activate our streets for people to enjoy. It will see a new city precinct where people can meet and access Council services, including new laneways, shared rooftops and a new community forum,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our current Council House 1 building on Little Collins Street is more than 50 years old and it’s no longer feasible to refurbish it. Redeveloping this site has opened up an opportunity to create a new civic precinct and also restore the Victorian Heritage-listed former Commonwealth Bank building on Bourke Street.

“Under the proposal, the heart of the precinct will contain a public forum – a large, flexible meeting space at ground level designed to encourage community engagement and participation in Council activities.”

At next Monday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors will consider a recommendation to submit an application for a planning permit to the Minister for Planning.

The 10-storey, 40-metre proposed development would feature ground-floor retail spaces, two new laneway connections, commercial office space and two publically accessible rooftops. Almost two thirds of the new precinct would be used for community spaces and commercial and retail, with the remaining space allocated to meet City of Melbourne staff accommodation needs.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the redevelopment would feature exemplary energy-efficient design, achieve a Six Star Green Star design and as-built rating and have a Carbon Neutral Certification target.
“The commercial spaces would create significant revenue. This ensures we have a robust business case and the project is estimated to break even within 20 years,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

“We want to create a ‘next generation’ site that exceeds our achievements in creating CH2, Australia’s first Six Star Green Star building 12 years ago.

“Photovoltaic solar arrays would supply renewable energy to the retail, commercial and community spaces. It would also feature end-of-trip cycling facilities, ground-source heat exchange, an electric vehicle-only basement, and rainwater tanks and water sensitive urban design to capture and reuse stormwater.

“We will also bring to life our globally recognised Urban Forest and Biodiversity strategies by greening laneways, creating a garden atrium, and providing green rooftops for the community to enjoy.”

Subject to relevant planning approvals, it is anticipated that construction would commence in early 2020, and be completed in 2024.