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173 -183 Ferrars St, Montague

September 2016

Marketing has begun for this 20 level development, Vivid 181.  It emphasises the advantages of the location and the convenience of the public transport:

“A beautifully designed Pedestrian Bridge connects Vivid 181 residents to what will feel like your personal Light Rail Station via a secure weather protected Arcade.”

It is a project of Michael Emery and John Denton of Denton, Corker, Marshall.

8 July 2015

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has issued a permit for a revised scheme for this site.

The project was reduced from 25 to 20 storeys, minimising overshadowing.

  • 98 apartments in a 20 storey tower
  • Mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments
  • Development value: $30 million
  • Developer: One Eight One Pty Ltd
  • Architect: Denton Corker Marshall

The proposal provides for a walkway through to the City Road tram stop.

26 November 2014

It would be hard to find a person who doesn’t think the renewal of Fishermans Bend and Montague is a good idea.

Its how its done that is the question. And now its being done. Applications are being considered according to the Strategic Framework Plan released in July by the Metropolitan Planning Authority. Applications are referred to the City of Port Phillip for comment – not decision.

Fishermans Bend remains relatively unknown. With only a small residential population, the sense of fierce ownership of place is not as great as in more established suburbs.

Heritage? Although it was the site of much of Victoria’s post war manufacturing, few traces of that industry remain. The buildings that house Montague’s small industries are not remarkable. Many of them are not that old.

Creative industries moved from Port and South Melbourne to Montague where the rents were cheaper and began once again to transform the area with creative energy.


171-181 Ferrars St

I went for a wander to get a feel for the place that is the site of the planning application for 171 – 181 Ferrars St.

It’s very handy for South Melbourne Market. It’s literally on the City Road tram stop. It’s an easy walk or ride to the city or the bay. It’s easy to imagine walking through the site to access the light rail. Railway Place’s walls exhibit street art of wit and precision. The blue stone lane is full of the gritty urban character that people flock to see in Melbourne.


The application had been referred to the Office of the Victorian Government Architect for comment. The Framework Plan’s guidance for this section of Montague is for a preferred height of 18 levels. The application was for 24 levels. In light of the discussion earlier this week about the OVGA, it is interesting to read that the design review panel said:

‘Without clear direction on the nature and extent of discretionary height decisions, the additional 5 storeys was supported on the basis that it created a more slender and elegant building.’ and

‘The question of how discretionary height limits will be applied needs to be addressed with consistency and an equitable approach’

The City of Port Phillip assessed the application according to the Framework Plan and expects an application at the preferred maximum height of 18 storeys. What is the justification for the extra height? Is a ‘more slender and elegant’ building a sufficient reason to not observe the preferred maximum height?

The application is unusual in that all apartments have adequate access to light and none rely on borrowed light. That should not be noteworthy. The environmental plan lacked ‘commitment’.

The Council examines the nitty gritty detail of the application to anticipate the future life that will be led here. So important to get those details right, as overlooked details can return to haunt.

High vehicles won't be able to turn left

High vehicles won’t be able to turn left

Will those removal vans be able to fit under that 3.8 m bridge?  How will the garbage trucks make their way onto City Road?

Questions remain.

Will the architects Denton Corker Marshall continue as architects right through the project?

How will the building relate to the future school proposed on the corner of Ferrars and Douglas St?

As the Fishermans Bent Network comment, assessing individual applications, even on their merits against the Framework plan, is not a sufficient pre-condition for a liveable precinct.


City of Port Phillip Statutory Planning Committee 171 – 183 Ferrars St, Montague,  18 November 2014

Fishermans Bend Network


  • Helen Halliday

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment Janet. I especially like the comment on the mysterious liking of a taller building becasue it is more elegant - this would have to be just the drawing since it would be hard to read elegance from up close.

    • Establishing some guidelines for the exercise of discretion would be helpful.

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