Collie provided town planning services to Bensons Property Group to facilitate the demolition of a former knitwear factory and its re-development for a seven storeys mixed-use commercial and residential building, at 29-31 Frith Street, Brunswick.  The proposal will provide 100 apartments, office floor space at ground floor level, basement car parking and a roof top garden.

A planning permit has recently been issued for the proposal.

The site is located within the Brunswick Major Activity Centre approximately 60 metres to the east of Sydney Road and has abuttal to Victoria Street (to the north) and Frith Street (to the east).  It is occupied by the former Fletcher Jones factory, with a large, open, Council-owned car park located to the rear (south).

High density residential and mixed use developments have become a trend in the Brunswick area, acknowledging the geographical advantages of the Centre and the suitability for redevelopment of large, former industrial sites that are often removed from lower scale residential neighbourhoods.  It is largely accepted that these sites, which are generally now too small for industrial operations and thus no longer viable for such uses, are to be replaced with high density residential and mixed-use developments that can take advantage of the well serviced inner-city locale.

The proposal had regard to the draft Brunswick Structure Plan, which is implemented through the interim Design and Development Overlay affecting the site and the associated local planning policy.  These interim controls apply preferred height and setbacks requirements to the site and the general area.  The site is also located within a precinct-wide heritage overlay (HO).  Although the site itself has no specific heritage value, the scale and nature of development along Sydney Road is the main reason for the HO.

Notwithstanding that the DDO seeks a preferred maximum height of five storeys for the site, potential to achieve higher than five storeys on parts was identified.  Collie worked with the client and Metaxas Architects to achieve a design outcome that would protect view lines from the heritage protected streetscape of Sydney Road whilst acknowledging the higher built form potential of former industrial land to the south as envisaged by the draft Structure Plan.

The building is proposed to have two massing elements, being the three storeys podium to Victoria Street with the four levels above setback from the podium.  It was acknowledged that given the existing context of the development site (with this proposal likely to form a catalyst for future development) that the building as proposed would be highly visible from Frith Street and Victoria Street.  The building would not however, be highly visible from Sydney Road.

Other elements of the proposal contributed to achieving support from Moreland City Council.  Above the ground floor level, the building provides a central atrium to assist daylight penetration and ventilation into the heart of the building.  Given the dimensions of the development site, the atrium was seen as essential to complement the street frontages at the perimeter of the site.  This atrium, along with rainwater harvesting and the roof garden, ensures a high level of amenity to future residents and contributes to the development achieving a high level of environmental sustainability.

In addition, 10 per cent of the proposed dwellings are provided with a layout that is ‘adaptable’, meaning that they can be converted easily into ‘accessible’ dwellings for persons with limited mobility.

Extensive work by the client and project team with the City of Moreland enabled the successful outcome for this proposal, despite the heights exceeding those sought in the draft Structure Plan.

We look forward to the commencement of construction for this project.

Enquiries Jay Hollerich jjh@colliepl.com.au