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Cbus Property seizes opportunity for $1b office tower

December 21, 2018

A proposal for a 55-level tower at 435 Bourke Street has been lodged by Cbus Property. Photo: Supplied

In a sign of the times, super developer Cbus Property will pursue a $1 billion office tower project in the very heart of Melbourne after accumulating several sites once slated for residential skyscrapers.

Designed by Bates Smart, the proposed 55-level tower, if approved, will comprise 64,500 square metre of office space on a site bounded by Bourke and Queen streets, only a few blocks from the developer’s distinctive Pantscraper twin-tower project on Collins Street.

“The significance of the project’s location and the needs of a future city were integral to the project’s design, as well as ensuring planning controls were met and the development potential of the site optimised,” said chief executive Adrian Pozzo.

Central Melbourne could need another 4.4 million square metres of commercial space to house the expected growth in workforce numbers, Mr Pozzo said, noting recent forecasts.

“Our vision for 435 Bourke Street will help meet this demand,” he said.

The super fund developer pulled together neighbouring properties into a single super-site after their Singaporean owners put aside a lengthy property dispute over their own proposals and offered the real estate to the market. .

During negotiations, Cbus Property secured a fourth adjoining property in the precinct owned by a Brunei-based family, amalgamating the properties for more than $170 million.

The dispute had forced Singapore’s Chip Eng Seng to abandon its $350 million Tower Melbourne project at 150 Queen Street and return the 10 per cent deposits it had in hand for 556 sales contracts.

The tower’s sculptural form is broken down into four differentiated bundles at varying heights. Nick Lenaghan

The project stalled as trouble flared with its neighbour, the Chow family, which was pursuing its own plans for a serviced apartment development next door at 140 Queen Street.

While Cbus Property pounced on that opportunity, several major residential projects in the CBD have also been turned over to office development recently.

In October, Charter Hall took over a prime Collins Street site after its Singaporean owner struggled to win buyers for its apartment project. A month earlier Mirvac bought a site on La Trobe Street, previously slated for dramatically-styled 70-storey apartment tower designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

Along with a four-level wellness hub, Cbus Property’s tower proposal at 435 Bourke Street is broken into four distinct bundles and will include six landscaped terraces.

A 200 square metre sky terrace on level 53 will provide an outlook over the Yarra River the MCG and Port Phillip Bay. As many as 5500 workers could occupy the tower.

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