Proposed development will impact on Hosier Lane

Owners of the Forum Theatre, Mariner Group have submitted another proposal for the redevelopment of the MTC site between Russell Street and Hosier Lane. The plans will see a 32-storey boutique hotel and office complex built behind the Forum on the derelict old MTC site. 

Forum_MTC

Artist’s impression, as published in The Sunday Age 22.12.13

You can read about it in this article in the Age today. This will obviously have a huge impact on Hosier and Rutledge Lanes, both during construction and (more significantly) when it is complete. At this early stage it’s difficult to proffer an informed opinion about the design. It has been developed with little or no consultation or conversation with those who actually know and understand the community in which it sits. 

On the surface it seems a fairly typical and uninspired developer approach to this important site. The application centres around this being essential to facilitate the much needed refurbishment of the Forum Theatre, which has (conveniently) been left to fall into disrepair. The application was filed with the Victorian Department of Planning on Friday and the decision about the proposal will ultimately rest with Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

Share your thoughts here. Hosier Inc would hope to be included in any future consultations.

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2 thoughts on “Proposed development will impact on Hosier Lane

  1. Rick Butcher says:

    It’s too early to know what will happen on the site as it’s just a proposal at this stage. I speculate there are three primary objectives the owners are endeavouring to address:
    1. Upgrade Forum Theatre – for operational, financial and investment sustainability. Clearly this exercise will be expensive.
    2. Develop the derelict old MTC site to pay for item #1. Owners of derelict sites across Melbourne CBD have been asked to address these eyesores by the City of Melbourne in recent times.
    3. Maximise the investment outcome by making a case for special consideration with the planning minister and thereby sidestep council’s planning height limits. The tensions evident in building privately owned CBD towers conspire toward greater tower heights to maximise floor area and therefore better returns. It’s hard to discount the maths.

    Accepting the need to refurbish the Forum and the need to address the MTC derelict site, the proposal has to be seen as the most obvious outcome. Are there any alternatives?

    I’ll proffer a couple here.
    1. Offer to the developer a component of the Federation Square East rail yards parcel adjacent to the Forum to build an investment property in return for the upgrade of the Forum and a modest (and sensitive) development of the MTC site. This would fit within the RFIS guidelines recently sought by Major Projects Victoria.

    2. Redevelop the rear of the Forum to integrate the old MTC into the fabric of the theatre, including facilities which help generate revenue for the developer but within the prescribed height limits. Clearly this exercise is driven by plot ratios, floor areas, leasing arrangements and a plethora of pre-existing conditions which we can only speculate on. Nevertheless, some clever planning in this direction might produce a positive (in the assumption that it would be better) outcome for the precinct.

    I would advocate positive and constructive dialogue – we don’t mind development contingent on sensitive and appropriate vision. The recent BHP Biliton structure is one which in my opinion lacks these qualities. We need to learn from these mistakes and act upon them.

  2. Vetti says:

    This is horrifying – both the lanes and the theatre deserve better. Obviously they hope to push it through quietly as they are submitting around the holiday season.

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