A $2.5b confidence boost for Melbourne’s battered CBDPosted by On

In 2019, the city received 1200 planning applications worth $1.1 billion. After the coronavirus emerged, the tally slumped quickly to 850 planning applications worth $750 million lodged in 2020. Last year, 950 plans were filed, worth $800 million.

That the development pipeline is being restocked will come as welcome news for a city which has been battered by rolling lockdowns for more than two years. Some CBD retailers have closed their doors forever, while others are struggling to survive.

The town hall figures show the CBD is the busiest market for new plans with 200 new applications, mostly covering new businesses and shop fitouts. The upmarket inner-city suburb of Carlton, which falls within the municipality, is second with more than 70 projects proposed – for residential properties and additions to heritage homes.

Plans for a number of big projects in the CBD have also been lodged, which will be dealt by the state government. Among them is a joint proposal from billionaire developer Lang Walker’s ASX-listed Abacus Property Group for a $750 million twin office tower development flanking Collins Street and rising above the historic Goods Shed warehouses.

Meanwhile, the next wave of development plans is already forming, through a series of opportunistic deals driven by smaller private players that have swooped on CBD properties, with ambitions to redevelop.

Just last week, private developer V-Leader bought a group of seven shops on a prominent CBD corner for around $50…

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