Apple Store - Melbourne Renderings

In late 2006 the Australian architecture firm Bruce Henderson Architects posted renderings of a new mixed-use development proposed for the northwest corner [map] of Chapel Street and Toorak Road in Stonnington, a near-suburb of Melbourne (Australia). Among the retail stores on the ground floor is an Apple store.

The formal address of the project is 241-257 Toorak Road and 625 Chapel Street, South Yarra [map].

The Chapel Street area is home to shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, bookstores and cinemas over a one-mile stretch. It features an active night-life and a day-time fresh produce market. The area is served by several modes of public transportation, including the city's tram system.

The project, proposed for the site of the former "Fun Factory," is being developed by APN Property Group and Freedom Furniture chain co-founder Peter Palan, and is pegged at US$155 million. It would include a 27-story apartment tower, 666-car basement garage, up to 130,000 square-feet of retail shops on the ground floor, and what they refer to as a 78-room "boutique serviced apartment hotel."

According to city records [pdf], Palan was denied a permit in December 2001 to demolish the current, run-down building, and construct the mixed-use project, including a single tall tower. The Stonnington city agencies opposed the project, and an appeal hearing was held in May 2002. The city lost that appeal and a permit was issued in September 2002. The second smaller tower on Toorak Street was approved in 2003. Since then the project has undergone several design iterations, finally joining with Apple to create a very shiny, stainless steel-looking set of structures that includes a corner retail space.

The site is just east of Melbourne's central business district, and was the site of the powerhouse for the Toorak tram system in the 1880s. The tram system closed in the mid-1920s, and then became a bakery in 1933. In 1979 the bakery closed and the building was turned into an amusement complex.

The project is still under city review and no construction has begun on the site.

[In a later e-mail to ifoAppleStore, the development's project manager denied that Apple was a firm tenant. Also check renderings of the future Sydney store.

Read more background after the photos.

Looking northwest from the corner of Chapel St. and Toorak Dr. in Melbourne. The Apple store appears to be a 3-story design similar to Shinsaibashi (Osaka, Japan), but with a fourth floor enclosed in glass. The design uses the classic stainless steel design with back-lit Apple logo.

A view showing the very prominent location of the proposed Apple store on the corner, with the tower buildings rising behind it. The ground floor of the store is all glass, either looking into the retail space or into display windows. The top floor appears to be tinted glass, used for retail space or classrooms and offices.

A view of the Chapel St. side of the project, showing the side window of the Apple store.

A view on Chapel St. between the retail building (Apple store to the left) and the 27-story apartment tower.

A skyline view of the project, with the Apple store visible just below the shorter tower.

A view of the Toorak St. side of the project, showing the smaller boutique hotel tower, and a small portion of the Apple store (to the right).


Background

The development site is part of what the city calls the Yarra Street Precinct, which is undergoing substantial development over the past two years. The city commissioned a consultant to recommend how best to manage the develop in a way that promotes commerce and still remains people friendly.

As described in the consultant's report, the Fun Factory site is:

"A strategic site that forms a primary gateway into the Prahran South Yarra Principal Activity Centre. The site has the capacity to accommodate an iconic podium-tower development due to its established gateway status, prominent corner location, and large overall lot size of approximately 6,000 m2 (64,500 square-feet, 1.5 acres).

"The built form for this site should reinforce the primary gateway entry into the Prahran South Yarra Principal Activity Centre with a tower development that acts as an architectural landmark, achieves skyline prominence and that is well setback from the main street frontages, so as not to overwhelm these streetscapes. The podium levels should complement the existing streetscape of the Toorak Road/Chapel Street intersection, largely defined by the podium of the Como Centre and the height of the ‘Country Road’ building on the south-west corner. The site has the potential to make a significant contribution to urban consolidation and, at the ground and lower levels, to enhance the role of the wider Prahran South Yarra Principal Activity Centre by providing retail uses and active frontages that revitalise this important main street intersection.

"This site has current planning permit approval (permit 0592/01 that requires development works to have commenced by 6 September 2008), that allows for demolition of the existing buildings and development of the site comprising 4 and 6 storey podiums, a 12 storey building at 241 Toorak Road and a 27 storey building setback from the Toorak Road/Chapel Street corner of the site, to be used for dwellings, serviced apartments, shops, food and drink premises and a multi level basement car park."

Specifically speaking about Toorak Road, the report stated:

"New development along the northern side of Toorak Road between South Yarra Railway Station and the Fun Factory site will create a high quality pedestrian environment at street level to support its retail function. Improvements in street level activity, shelter and connectivity are anticipated. Whilst development should optimise the potential to contribute to urban consolidation, it should also be respectful of existing heritage buildings and maintain a street wall height that is complementary to existing heritage buildings, the building scale of the south side of Toorak Road and that maximises the amenity of the public realm.

"This area has the potential to accommodate building heights up to 7 storeys. Some additional storeys may be possible, particularly on large sites generally east of Claremont Street, subject to the upper levels being setback so that solar access to adjacent footpaths is maintained."

In the precinct plan, the so-called "Fun Factory" site development was separately considered, "n order to recognise its landmark significance as a primary gateway site in the Prahran South Yarra Principal Activity Centre and the current planning permit for the site." the city said.

The guideilnes for the Yarra Street Precinct area are out in several documents: #1 (pdf) / #2 (pdf)


The permit issued issued for the development includes at least the condition that the developers paid about US$233,000 to a coummunity fund for public question during Stonnington Council meeting of March 17, 2003

future development of the Toorak/South Yarra library in Toorak Road. The developer is only required to fund the money after it has reached agreement with the city council on the final permits for building, and that has not occurred as of early Feb. 2007.

A real estate brochure (pdf) for the site south across from the Apple store development has some additional background and good aerial photo of the area, with downtown Melbourne in the background.