$500m Melbourne shopping plaza redevelopment gets go ahead
Time & Place’s Northcote Plaza redevelopment will include more than 600 apartments.

$500m Melbourne shopping plaza redevelopment gets go ahead

Busy developer Time & Place has secured its second major permit approval in less than a month, after receiving the green light to proceed with a $500 million mixed-use project at Northcote Plaza in Melbourne’s inner north-east.

Designed by architects Fender Katsalidis, the approved project includes four residential towers with more than 600 apartments to be built above a podium on a 15,000sq m site across the southern end of the ageing plaza.

There will also be 6500sq m of new retail space while a standalone office tower north-west of the site will be built as part of the project. Construction is expected to kick off in the second quarter of 2023 and be completed by the end of 2025.

Time & Place acquired the site from developer Les Smith’s LAS Group for $60 million in 2021. Mr Smith, who paid $35 million in 2019 to acquire the majority of the 18,000sq m mall, had planned to undertake his own $500 million mixed-use project featuring apartments, offices and shops before on selling the project.

Time & Place restructured the initial development application including reducing the central tower from 28 to 18 levels and secured a permit at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) this month.

A planning application lodged last year was unanimously rejected by the local Darebin Council which complained of a lack of social housing and community facilities in the proposed development.

“This is another missed opportunity to build much-needed social housing near local jobs, transport and community services,” said Darebin Mayor Cr Lina Messina following the VCAT ruling.

Time & Place director Tim Price said its development would “enhance the existing plaza” which was built in the 1980s. Ten per cent of the apartments in the project have been set aside for affordable and social housing as part of a build-to-rent component.

The successful VCAT hearing follows Time & Place securing a permit in May for its $410 million Southbank development that includes 367 apartments and a 200-room hotel.

Time & Place is also undertaking a speculative $230 million office development in Alexandria in inner Sydney in partnership with builder Hickory as well as a $500 million mixed-use project at the Alphington Paper Mill site in Melbourne’s inner north-east in partnership with Buxton family-backed Corsair Investment Management.

Providing the rationale for the Northcote project, Mr Price said the suburb was now regarded as Melbourne’s most liveable based on a 2021 PwC report.

“[Its liveability] is underpinned by the high quality of parks and open spaces, public transport, food and beverage offerings, location and access to the CBD and other suburbs,” Mr Price said.

He added that through gentrification, Northcote had been embraced by young professionals and their families, creating a need for new retail and convenience offerings as well as housing.