This will be a big test for the planning minister.
I hope that some reason can be seen in this proposal. There are plenty of available sites out of the 40 metre limited zone. Set a precendent, like the horrible Westin and you're just asking for trouble.
http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/ ... 80201.html
Higher Power makes for Lower Tower
PLANS have been released for a city office tower that would loom over Melbourne's landmark St Paul's Cathedral.
The 17-level, cutting-edge glass tower has been reduced from its original design by three levels, after concerns from heritage, planning and religious figures that it would crowd out St Paul's, one of the city's best-loved buildings.
The new design has also stepped the building back marginally from Flinders Lane, to ease the objections of nearby residents, including state architect John Denton, who lives next door. But concerns remain within the Anglican Church that the proposed building, backed by Sydney banking giant Macquarie, would detract from St Paul's.
The Anglican Dean of Melbourne, David Richardson, said he had not yet received details of Macquarie's latest plans. But he remained concerned about gradual encroachment on St Paul's, which is undergoing a $15 million facelift.
"You can argue architecturally that as long as the city's holy spaces are there it doesn't matter if they are encroached upon," Dean Richardson said.
"But the intention for our spire was that it stood out for its height. Other buildings around it have been kept down so that it could. But little exceptions keep being made."
The architects behind the $120 million project said there was no chance the crystalline tower would dominate St Paul's or block it out of the city skyline. Bates Smart chairman Roger Poole said the building would become "a quietly elegant backdrop to the cathedral spires".
The windows of the towers are slightly angled in five-storey groups, refracting light and giving the building a more interesting external pattern.
"We fragmented the building into smaller facets," Mr Poole said. "Each (has) a jewel-like quality, reflecting a more complex image of the surrounding city."
The new building would have a five-star energy rating and a pedestrian link from Flinders Lane through to Collins Street. It would return the facade of the historic Mayfair building in Collins Street to its original grandeur.
The central city's jealously guarded height limit could be sacrificed for the development.
Under a long-standing strategic vision for the city, the area around the Swanston Street spine and between Elizabeth and Russell streets would remain low-rise, with buildings climbing to the east and west.
Planning Minister Justin Madden will have the final say on the tower proposal, which will go to him by the end of the year.