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Australia 108 megatower faces the chop

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Plans for Australia 108, the Melbourne skyscraper that was destined to be the southern hemisphere’s tallest building, will now be redrawn, following the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s ruling that the tower’s original height must be reduced. The ruling, due to flight path restrictions over Melbourne, ends the lofty ambitions of Australia 108 being 388 metres tall, with some reports suggesting up to 76 metres may have to be lopped off. In an email this week to potential buyers, the project’s developer Benni Aroni confirmed that because of PANS-OPS flight path restrictions limiting the tower’s height “it became clear that a redesign would be required”. Rules for airport approach and departure procedures known as PANS-OPS allow aircraft to fly safely in and out of airports and are set by international agreement. Since Australia 108’s planning approval was issued, its developers have been addressing numerous conditions imposed on the original plan, most of which were thought to be minimal. As reported in Neos Kosmos in April, Nonda Katsalidis said at the time that despite Australia 108 being within the southerly flight path of Essendon airport, only 13 metres would need to come off the height and that the issue was not a deal-breaker. Air Services Australia told Fairfax Media this week that there was “no flexibility” to approve a building that breached height restrictions. The problem has reportedly prompted the state government to seek changes to emergency flight regulations for Essendon airport. The re-design puts the schedule for selling apartments in the building back to the first quarter of 2014, a shift that has prompted the developer to offer buyers who have already spent $1000 to gain priority access to apartments their money back. Mr Aroni said in his email to buyers that Australia 108’s developers were “not prepared to sacrifice their essential vision which was to ensure Australia 108 was equivalent or superior in its offering to Eureka Tower, along with the addition of a premium brand hotel”. With the hotel already attracting international commercial interest, Mr Aroni said he was optimistic that a “suitably credentialed hotel operator” would be announced for the building in due course. Existing plans for the hotel indicate it will take up the highest levels of the tower. Despite the design review that Mr Aroni said had “greatly advanced previously unresolved costing, construction and design issues”, the developer added that the conditions imposed on the planning approval – which were raised by Melbourne City Council and accepted by state Planning Minister Matthew Guy – would result in a “far superior building both functionally and aesthetically”. Fender Katsalidis Architects declined to comment on the situation when approached by Neos Kosmos yesterday. A second massive tower for Melbourne’s CBD proposed by property magnate Harry Stamoulis is also now unlikely to get off the ground. The Stamoulis Property Group’s 404-metre office tower proposal for 555 Collins Street has not yet been submitted to the Planning Minister but has attracted criticism because of its potential to overshadow the Yarra River. This week Mr Guy said: “I don’t think there was ever a likelihood of a building on a footprint that small being built to 400 metres. The issue at 555 Collins is, and always is, going to be overshadowing the Yarra.”last_img read more

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