Little Lonsdale big on construction

Little Lonsdale big on construction
Little Lonsdale big on construction

Little Lonsdale Street wouldn't immediately be considered Melbourne's most glamorous thoroughfare, but for the time being at least the street which spans the length of the CBD is attracting more than its fair share of high-end development and construction value.

Billions of dollars in fact, as seven major projects at various stages of construction are gradually changing the feel and composition of Little Lonsdale Street. The majority of these builds gained approval under previous planning regulations, turning Little Lonsdale Street into somewhat of a showcase of previous planning attitudes. 

Nonetheless construction marches on, with two vastly different projects currently bookending Little Lonsdale Street, and both under the guidance of Probuild.

Little Lonsdale big on construction
Progress across Australian Unity and West side Place

Intersecting Spring Street and Little Lonsdale, ISPT and Probuild are delivering 271 Spring Street, a $150 million mixed-use tower on the edge of the CBD. The 16-storey building has been designed by John Wardle Architects and will become the new headquarters for Australian Unity, which has agreed to a 15-year term over the entire 15,600sqm build. 

Conversely Probuild are also moving on the first stage of West side Place at the opposite end of the city. In time the builder will deliver the first stage of the project, involving thousands of apartments and a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

At 81 and 64 levels, both towers will comfortably surpass the 200m mark, with the first phase of West side Place scheduled for completion in 2022.

Little Lonsdale big on construction
Union Tower and 399 Little Lonsdale in view, along with the rear of 380 Lonsdale

A trio of builds are most definitely changing the feel of Little Lonsdale Street west of Elizabeth Street.

Union Tower and 399 Little Lonsdale Street deliver sheer vertical facades from street level spanning the best part of 40 levels, whilst demolition is progressing rapidly on 380 Lonsdale Street. The rear of Brady Group's massive tower will stretch the best part of 220 metres above Little Lonsdale Street whilst the adjoining Timothy Lane will be extended to provide a typical Melbourne laneway outcome.

Close to 1,000 apartments and hundreds of new hotel suites are being constructed across this tightly spaced trio. Crema Constructions is accounting for 399 Little Lonsdale, Watpac is handling the $47 million build that is Union Tower whilst Brady Group will handle 380 Lonsdale internally via Brady Constructions.

Little Lonsdale big on construction
Union Tower and the Little Lonsdale Street frontage for Brady's 380 Lonsdale

As outlined last week, Wesley Place has begun construction with the initial tower and future commercial building both fronting Little Lonsdale Street. A sizeable landscaped courtyard will also spill onto Little Lonsdale Street, providing further permeability to Lonsdale Street and surrounding areas.

Flying under the radar and adjoining Wesley Place is Brady Group's commencement of 109-111 Little Lonsdale Street. A Peddle Thorp-designed tower will soon rise onsite, with the likelihood that it will become the CBD's second Brady Hotel outlet.

The pocket-sized tower will abut Regency Towers and is expected to rise 21 levels.

Little Lonsdale big on construction
109-111 Little Lonsdale Street will become reality

Whilst the current crop of projects settling upon Little Lonsdale Street number seven, a similar number of projects are in the pipeline.

299 King Street, a future tower at Upper West Side and Victoria University's vertical campus will all have frontage to Little Lonsdale Street, with VU Tower likely to reach construction first. The much hyped Crystal Gardens tower though remains somewhat of an enigma, whilst Brady Group continues to plot future towers along Little Lonsdale Street.

272-282 Queen Street and 278 Little Lonsdale Street are on the developer's books, with the latter gaining approval via VCAT for a 32 level tower spanning 105 metres earlier this year.

On its curent construction trajectory awathes of Little Lonsdale Street will be barely recognisable in a short few years time.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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