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PostPosted: 10 Jun 2003, 15:49 
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http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/ ... 28570.html

Residents v university in the battle for Carlton
June 10 2003
By James Button and Royce Millar

Carlton residents have fought Melbourne University's plans to expand into their suburb for more than 30 years, so when they see a planning permit with the university's name in it, they know how to organise.

Sue Chambers heaves a huge two-ring binder onto a coffee table in her Faraday Street home. The binder holds 450 pages of statements from planners, architects, academics and residents, and a petition bearing nearly 3000 signatures.

The expert advice is all pro bono, says her husband Don.

He points out the window. "Mate, they're lining up to knock it down."

Just across the road, in the direction Mr Chambers is pointing, the developer Becton wants to build an 11-storey housing complex offering rental apartments for 940 students.

The university says the project, which will stretch over most of the block bordered by Swanston, Faraday, Cardigan and Elgin streets, is critical for housing its expanding overseas student population.

The Carlton Residents Association, of which Sue Chambers is president, says the buildings will rip the heart and character out of Carlton. The stage is set for one of the fiercest planning disputes of the year.

Two days before Christmas, Planning Minister Mary Delahunty approved the Becton plan for four buildings on the site, including an H-shaped complex with an entrance on Faraday Street.

Melbourne City Council, the National Trust and residents immediately appealed. Tomorrow the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal begins hearing the appeal.

The dispute mainly revolves around the height and quality of the proposed College Square on Swanston Street. At 36 metres, the buildings would be similar in height to the Women's Hospital just to the south.

To Paul Briggs, Becton's development director, the "finely executed buildings", designed by leading Melbourne architect Daryl Jackson, will be top-class student housing.

The university agrees. But to one of its own architecture professors, Kim Dovey, the buildings are "bloated and overbearing", an "intimidating presence". To another, Philip Goad, they are comparable to "the now vilified Housing Commission blocks in Lygon Street".

The argument is within the university and perhaps within state cabinet. Bronwyn Pike, the local MP and Health Minister, has expressed concerns about the project, telling The Melbourne Times that the residents have a strong case and urging the university to compromise.

Then there's a dispute within the dispute - between Ms Delahunty and the Melbourne City Council. Last year the council approved a height limit of 17.5 metres for key areas beyond the central business district.

Just before the state election Ms Delahunty announced her support for the council's limits in most areas. But she deferred a decision on a few locations, including the Swanston Street site. In December, she agreed to a 36-metre limit for the site.

So the council is unhappy - not just about height, but also design. Cr Catherine Ng, chairwoman of the council's planning committee, calls the Becton plan a "design of outstanding ugliness, as cheap and nasty as they can get. Do we have to go through the building vandalism of the 1960s again?"

Such comments anger Becton's Paul Briggs. He points to the buildings' diverse materials, blades and fins, and its "Cyclops eye" - a void generated in the middle of the buildings. "You don't get any of this stuff in the '50s and '60s. I can't help but feel a little bit frustrated when you see some of the emotive stuff coming out of the architecture school in the university."

The university and Becton teamed up in the late 1990s, when the developer refurbished the old VicRoads buildings on Lygon Street, creating apartments for 1100 students, almost all of them from overseas. Premier Steve Bracks applauded, and few locals objected: the buildings were away from heritage areas. But the new proposal is on a block that the university and residents have fought over since the late 1960s.

Everyone accepts the need for some redevelopment of the site, which is now largely a vacant block covering a car park and ringed by terrace houses, two of which will be demolished and 14 restored under Becton's plan.

Professors Dovey and Goad support a seven to eight-storey building, in keeping with the Potter and Asia Centres on the campus side of Swanston Street.

But Mr Briggs says the "financial gymnastics" of the project require an 11-storey building. Since students can afford only low rents - about $120 a week in shared accommodation, $190 alone - investors will not pay high prices to buy the apartments. So more have to be built to make the project feasible.

Accommodation would be run by the YMCA and include a restaurant and 24-hour security at its one entrance. Mr Briggs says it is designed so that a "mum and dad in Thailand will feel their son or daughter is well fed and safe". To Sue Chambers, it sounds like a "gated community".

It's a dispute between the global and the local, between the ambitions and needs of Melbourne University and the traditions of Carlton. Ms Delahunty would not comment yesterday; a spokesman said the matter was best resolved by VCAT. The university is also keeping quiet.

One person who is speaking is Fabrizio Succi, owner of Lygon Street's Ti Amo cafe. He thinks a building of this size will mean "what is unique today will be gone tomorrow".

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Last edited by tayser on 07 Mar 2004, 12:42, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 20 Jun 2003, 16:28 
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Arguing against economically sustainable and architecturally aesthetic developments on UNUSED, UNOCCUPIED sites really annoys me - especially when it will not encroach on the main heritage areas. Height is the only concern, but the parts of Melbourne that have been earmarked for future or current development for the purposes of the Uni of Melbourne (which has its own statute to enforce such development) should be exempt from the same planning controls as the rest of Carlton - but it has already been shown in the new Melb Uni developments south of Grattan St that the planning controls applicable to the Uni are appropriate and sensible - the necessary demolition of several Victorian terrace houses and the restoration of the remainder was a sensible outcome IMHO, although I was personally somewhat disappointed with Metier3's designs for the new buildings, they capture great views and are very comfortable and more than functional given the budget. I think the current 50 year Melb Uni development plan is for development from Royal Parade (western border) to Faraday St or is it Cardigan (? - correct me if I'm wrong) (eastern border) and from the current northern border along College Crescent connecting to the RMIT/CUB site along Victoria St (southern border). I would fight for heritage and conservation if there was something to conserve, but this is not it. Melb Uni desperately needs student accommodation, and this development is not new in concept - there are already numerous privately run developments designed specifically for student accommodation that are FAR inferior in design and urban planning terms.

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PostPosted: 26 Jun 2003, 23:39 
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"architecturally aesthetic" though Blabbs?

I doubt you'd like it (judging by yer opinions on SSC hah :D)

tays

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PostPosted: 27 Jun 2003, 07:28 
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More on this:

$70m project riles council, residents
viewtopic.php?t=70

I think that if they are going to turn Carlton into a medium rise enclave then they may as well do it in architectural style rather than putting up any more mini Central Equity housing commission-like towers.


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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2008, 18:49 
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http://news.theage.com.au/melbourne-get ... -28aw.html

From The Age

Melbourne gets $50m in homeless housing
April 24, 2008 - 5:43PM

A new housing block with on-site mental health referrals, drug and alcohol counselling and employment services is to be built in Melbourne for the homeless.
Based on a New York initiative, the 10-storey building in the CBD will accommodate up to 120 people.

It is expected to cost $50 million, and will be built at 660 Elizabeth Street under a partnership between the Victorian government, development firm Grocon and Yarra Community Housing.


Announcing the project on-site, Victorian Housing Minister Richard Wynne said it would help fill a gap in the system for people who need a higher level of support to improve their lives.

"A feature of any healthy city is that it looks after its vulnerable people and keeps them engaged and connected and does not push them out to the margins," Mr Wynne said.

"With the right support, homeless people can rebuild their lives and get on with participating in the community again in an active and productive way, and that's what this project's all about."

He said the supportive housing project was adapted from the Common Ground model in New York, which had reduced street homelessness in that city by 25 per cent since 2005.

The model aims to cure the underlying causes of homelessness by offering health, employment, training and counselling services alongside the building's 120 units, with controlled 24-hour access.

Stephen Nash, chief executive of housing support organisation HomeGround Services, said the development would help stop vulnerable people "bouncing around" emergency or psychiatric wards and the criminal justice system.

"They're over-represented in emergency and mental health services, police services - basically they're homeless and the symptoms of their homelessness take them into these high cost services," Mr Nash said.

"There's no model of housing that actually provides them with the safety and security and support they need to get out of homelessness and get on with their lives."

About 100,000 Australians were homeless on any one night, about 22,000 of them in Victoria, he said.

Mr Nash said his organisation dealt with about 1,500 people in Melbourne who required this form of housing.

Grocon's involvement will be at cost and 10 other companies have offered similar or pro bono support, Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said.

Premier John Brumby urged other businesses to support the project.

Mr Wynne said the building was expected to be opened in two years.

The government provided Yarra Community Housing with an $8.5 million grant to buy the land.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
660 Elizabeth Street places it in Carlton.
Good news, about time we had this type of development. :idea: :)

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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2008, 13:31 
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http://www.grocon.com.au/pdfs/mediareleases/MediaRelease_060308.pdf

From Grocon Media Release

Image

GROCON TO PARTNER GOVERNMENT IN SUPPORTING HOMELESS
Thursday, April 24 2008

Grocon today announced it would develop an innovative supportive housing project for
Melbourne’s homeless at cost, in a partnership with the State Government and Yarra
Community Housing.

CEO Daniel Grollo said Grocon would provide a project manager and other experienced
staff to deliver the project, which is due to start later this year.

“We hope we can bring design, development and construction skills to the table to assist in
ensuring the right outcome for homeless people,” he said.

“Providing a supportive facility that is safe and secure, and contains on site services for
those with complex needs, is something with which Grocon is proud to be involved.

“From what we know of supportive housing models overseas, it can provide a way for the
long term homeless to break out of that cycle.”

This type of supportive housing, known as the Common Ground model in the US, was
pioneered in New York in the early 1990s. The first building was a refurbished hotel near
Times Square and the number of homeless living rough on the streets has dropped
significantly since.

It’s planned there will be in the order of 120 units over ten levels in the Elizabeth Street
project.

Services provided on site will include drug and alcohol counselling, mental health referrals
and living skills programs. There will be 24 hour controlled access for residents.

Mr Grollo said many of the consultants with whom Grocon deals on a regular basis had
already agreed to work pro bono or at cost on the project.

“We hope we can also obtain supplies and materials at a cheaper rate than may otherwise
have been possible,” he said.

“And in line with our employment program, where we are already hiring the long term
unemployed on our sites through the Brotherhood of St Laurence, we intend to offer
prospective tenants the opportunity to work with us on this project.”

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