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Chinese group Holder East wins Southbank tower approval after improving design

April 16, 2018

The new apartment tower approved for Melbourne's central business district. Photo: Supplied

Acquisitive Chinese developer Holder East has received approval for its second Melbourne high-rise residential tower in less than a week, after modifying the design of a proposed Southbank high-rise to improve its liveability.

The project at 56-62 Clarendon Street – behind the Melbourne Convention Centre and Crown Casino – is a 151-metre tower with 208 one and two-bedroom apartments and 128 serviced studio apartments plus a cafe on the ground floor.

Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne approved the tower after the developer made a number of amendments, including increasing room sizes and providing additional natural lighting to comply with the state government’s Better Apartments Design Standards.

“We’ve struck a fair deal that ensures the developer can get on with their project, but the needs of future residents are met too,” Mr Wynne said.

“Melbourne’s population is growing and we’re making the most of it. Our Better Apartment Design Standards are about ensuring new apartments are the high-quality, liveable spaces Victorians deserve,” he added.

Designed by architects Katsalidis, the 48-level glass tower with gold trimmings will be built on 1212 square metre site that currently houses two single-storey industrial buildings. The construction budget is $60 million.

The two adjoining sites were acquired for a combined $23.5 million in 2014 by Chinese investor, Yang Clarendon Pty Ltd, led by Guifen Sun. Recently, Holder East struck a deal to become joint owner of the site paying Mr Sun $12.5 million.

Last week, Holder East received approval for a $200 million tower with 231 apartments in nearby South Melbourne. The developer also recently acquired a Melbourne CBD building and car park on Franklin Street for about $14 million.

Led by managing director Thomas Lu and chief operating officer CJ Wu, Holder East remains firmly committed to Melbourne despite a major pullback from investors in the last 12 months on the back of increased taxes for foreign buyers and the removal of an off-the-plan stamp duty concession for investors.

“We love Melbourne … everyone knows this city has been voted as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row,” Mr Wu told The Australian Financial Review last week.

Apart from increasing the size of apartments and improving access to natural lighting, Holder East also made amendments that addressed laneway and traffic congestion, overdevelopment and other amenity concerns that were raised during public consultation, Mr Wynne said.

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