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Kate Jones Apr 8, 2022

Melbourne may have been in a holding pattern for the past two years, but with pandemic restrictions easing, the city is charging forward again.

Major residential developments are being complemented by upgrades to the arts precinct and multiple green-space initiatives that will propel Melbourne’s famous liveability credentials.

These are the signature attractions and upcoming developments in each precinct.

West Melbourne

With its busy shipping docks and railway yards, West Melbourne still has a lot of the industrial traits linking it back to its early heritage. However, residential and office development is increasing.

This includes a 25-storey tower housing 171 apartments at 45 Dudley Street, which is set for completion later this year, and an 11-storey building with 185 residences at 268 Adderley Street.

The slew of new developments in West Melbourne includes mixed-use projects that comprise office space and retail.

It’s a new chapter of gentrification for the inner suburb, says Nicholas Reece, deputy lord mayor of the City of Melbourne. “There are some really exciting new developments occurring in West Melbourne, which is leaping ahead as a popular mixed-use suburb replicating the growth and change we’ve seen in Fitzroy and Collingwood in recent years,” he says.

Docklands

The eagerly awaited Melbourne Skyfarm – a 2000-square-metre rooftop car park transformed into an urban farm overlooking the Yarra – is set to open to the public later this year.

Visitors will be able to tour the working farm, visit the orchard, sample honey from the rooftop hives and dine at the sustainable cafe.

Melbourne Skyfarm is located in the Seafarer’s precinct, which is reinvigorating a forgotten piece of city real estate between Spencer Street and the Charles Grimes Bridge with a $500 million apartment and hotel complex.

Marvel Stadium, which is reawakening post-COVID, is also undergoing works to improve pedestrian flow from the Southern Cross footbridge.

Docklands will be an important point for the Greenline project, a four-kilometre revitalisation plan for the north bank of the Yarra, which is still awaiting final approval from the state government.

The six-metre-wide promenade will run from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte Bridge, an area lacking proper landscaping and connecting walking and cycling paths.

If it goes ahead, it will be a green initiative the city can be proud of, says Michele Acuto, director of the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Centre for Cities.

“It goes all the way from the Docklands to East Melbourne and it brings the city toward the river; things will be reactivated and more effective there,” Professor Acuto says.

“We are a city on a river and it is a waterway, not just a river. So recognising and celebrating that, and making it a flagship of Melbourne in the next 20 to 30 years is a real step change in our profile as a livable, global nature-oriented city.”

Southbank

Never one to miss out on the action, Southbank’s development scene is thriving. Construction of the tallest tower in Australia is expected to begin there next year. STH BNK By Beulah is a dual tower project with the tallest of the two measuring 101 floors and 356 metres.

Southbank will also be home to NGV Contemporary, a new gallery that forms part of the $1.7 billion Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation. This, along with the Metro Tunnel and ANZAC station, is also set to benefit the prestigious St Kilda Road precinct.

These improvement projects are aimed at capitalising on Melbourne’s waterfront position, says Tim Bracher, executive officer of the Yarra River Business Association.

“The major redevelopment of the Southgate complex, the amazing looking and green building of STH BNK By Beulah on City Road, together with the extension of Southbank Boulevard right to the water’s edge, will alter the way Southbank looks in the next five years,” he says.

“And over the next decade, the $1.7 billion transformation of the Arts Centre, and especially the NGV Contemporary, will further consolidate Southbank’s international reputation. It will be a very exciting decade ahead.”

Carlton

With its proximity to the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Carlton has long been a hub for student accommodation. But the pandemic has ravaged vacancy rates and forced developers to rethink their market.

Luxury developments for wealthy professionals and downsizers have appeared on Carlton streets. These include the 79 residences at Argyle House, which overlooks the iconic Argyle Square, and the 20 residences at La Storia on Cardigan Street.

East Melbourne

Its wide streets lined with Victorian terraces and leafy parks make East Melbourne a popular choice for affluent inner-city residents. Fitzroy Gardens is as much a signature drawcard as the iconic MCG.

On Albert Street, stage two of the Epworth Freemasons hospital site redevelopment is underway. And on the corner of Hoddle Street and Wellington Parade, a $13.1 million development of mixed-use twin towers in East Melbourne is slated to go ahead.

City stamp duty savings

Sweeteners allowing buyers to save 50 per cent of the stamp duty on residential properties valued up to $1 million in the City of Melbourne are on offer until June 20.

A 100 per cent stamp duty exemption is also available for new residential properties that have been on the market for more than 12 months.

And until June 30 next year, off-the-plan apartments will also carry a stamp duty concession if the home is valued at under $1 million.

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