Bates Smart has re-designed a mixed-use tower planned for 32-44 Flinders Street, Melbourne, changing its use from residential to commercial and reducing the ground floor area.

The original tower planned for the site was designed by SJB for Dexus and approved by the minister for planning in 2016. The new owner of the site, the GPT Group, is now seeking an amendment to the existing permit to change its use and make adjustments to the approved envelope.

Bates Smart’s scheme includes a dedicated pedestrian thru-block, which would be designed to provide a strong visual and physical connection with the surrounding public realm and allow for access to Flinders Street and Flinders Lane.

This link would also allow for views to the eastern boundary wall of the adjacent heritage Ernst and Young Building.

32-44 Flinders Street by Bates Smart.

Though the form of the tower will remain largely as previously approved, their presentation will alter to reflect their use.

The amendment proposal is going before council’s Future Melbourne Committee on 1 September, with council planners recommending that councillors should not object to the development. The planning minister has final planning authority.

“It is considered that the proposed amendments represent improved built form, urban design and public realm outcomes,” the report to council states. “This includes the provision of a dedicated and more direct through block link between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane. The reduced width of the Flinders Lane podium also allows for a greater appreciation of the three-dimensional form of the adjacent historic Ernst and Young building immediately to the east.”

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