Construction of the Australia 108 skyscraper, the first 100-storey building in the Southern Hemisphere, has been approved by the Victorian Government.
Infrastructure Minister Matthew Guy said the building, which would be built at 70 Southbank Boulevard, will stand 319 metres tall once completed.
“It’s 319 metres to the top from the bottom of the street, that compares 297 metres from the Eureka Tower,” Mr Guy said.
“The spire at Q1 on the Gold Coast is 323 metres, the top of Q1 is around 275, so it is by far and away the tallest building to the roof line, anywhere in Australia.”
The building was one of three new skyscrapers given approval today.
The Government also gave the go ahead to a 75-storey building on Elizabeth Street and a 54-storey tower on Queensbridge Street in Southbank.
Mr Guy said the buildings would create 5,800 construction jobs and once completed would house 4,000 people and boost the city’s urban density.
“Melbourne’s central city area is vastly superior in its services, in its amenity and liveability and indeed potentially and particularly through trams, its ability to move people through our central city area,” he said.
‘These buildings ensure that Melbourne has a large supply of housing units and dwellings coming through in our central city area and they are immensely important for the Victorian economy.”
Taller buildings cost more: Michael Buxton
But Associate Professor of Environment and Planning at RMIT, Michael Buxton, said the towers would not help prevent Melbourne’s urban sprawl.
“The current Government is saying this is going to take the pressure off the rest of the city, but of course it is not because they are different marketplaces – this isn’t reducing pressure on the suburbs or the fringe by a centimetre,” Mr Buxton told 774 ABC Melbourne.
Mr Buxton said the state had inadequate guidelines to regulate the construction of high-rise buildings in the city.
“The paradoxical thing is that the bigger the development the more impact and the more it should be controlled, but the less inclined the Government is to impose them because they can’t resist this investment stream,” he said.
“You’ve got lower land costs, you’ve got more bang for your buck on the site, but the problem is the higher you go the higher the cost per unit, so the economics of this is really problematic.”
The building’s architect Nonda Katsalidis acknowledged that tall buildings were costly for investors.
“You have to charge more because it costs you more to build that high, because of lifts, because of heavier structure to resist wind loads and other things,” Mr Katsalidis said.
Skyscraper not as tall as original design
The Government had previously approved the Australia 108 building at a height of 388 metres last year, but it was cancelled after it was deemed to obstruct an emergency flight path route to Essendon Airport.
Mr Katsalidis said it took “a lot of massaging” to get the building right.
“The previous one was about 30 metres higher but there was an issue with the Essendon Airport, not Tullamarine and the big jets, but the little planes,” he said.
“It had to stay within a absolute height of about 319 metres, which we’ve done and it hasn’t taken a lot off, there’s over 1,000 apartments in it already and we’ve still got the star burst in the middle, which is a great feature.”
Mr Katsalidis said the building was expected to be completed in 2019.