Artist's render of the approved design for Australia 108 in situ
|Location||70 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne, Australia
|Roof||319 m (1,047 ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Fender Katsalidis Architects|
Australia 108 is an approved supertall skyscraper located in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. If built, the building will become the tallest building in Australia to roof, and the second-tallest building in Australia, overall. The proposal consists of a 319 metre (1,047 ft) apartment building, with 1,105 apartments over 100 floors. Construction is set to commence in mid-2015, with completion in 2019.
Originally, the project would have been 388 metres (1,273 ft) high and contained 108 storeys. This proposal was approved by the State Government in March 2013; however, it was shelved four months later after it struggled to meet conditions imposed by government authorities including VicRoads and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The 70 Southbank Boulevard site is situated on the corner of City Road and Southbank Boulevard in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne. The land currently comprises two separately titled buildings, both of which are two levels. The buildings have a total net lettable area of 2,828m2, on a land area of 2,642m2.
In 2009, plans were submitted by Fender Katsalidis Architects to the City of Melbourne for a A$400 million residential building to be built on the 70 Southbank Boulevard site. In its original proposal, the building was planned to be 226 metres in height and consist of 532 residential apartments, six levels of office space, a fresh food market and other retail amenities, spanning 72 floors. The building was designed to replicate the nearby Eureka Tower, also a Fender Katsalidis development. Nonda Katsalidis noted the similarities with the Eureka Tower:
|“||Eureka Tower, which 70 Southbank Boulevard, has been replicated on from an architectural perspective is well known as part of the fabric of life in central Melbourne [...] We wanted to re-create elements of what we had achieved at Eureka and apply it to 70 Southbank Boulevard. It’s a brilliantly located site with a huge variety of optional uses and tremendous potential for a developer to shape Melbourne’s skyline with their own brush.||”|
The building development had been approved by then–Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden on 21 April 2010, a decision which received backlash from the City of Melbourne council, dubbing the development as "excessively high" and "at odds with the City of Melbourne's height guidelines for the area." In May 2010, the council lodged an appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to have the building permit overturned, asserting that the building surpassed the 100-metre height limit in the area's planning scheme. VCAT rejected the appeal; and noted that the planning scheme did not specify a maximum height.
In July 2012 the site was put up for sale through an international public expression of interest campaign and was listed at A$25 million, to allow the Fender Katsalidis partners time to "go in different directions."
In November 2012 Katsalidis revealed revised plans for the building which would have seen it "super-sized" to 388 metres in height, with 108 floors. The new proposal incorporated the previous plans, but went on to include 50 more residential apartments (totalling 600), a six-star hotel with 288 rooms, and a two-storey star-shaped sky lobby with restaurants and bars.
The hotel would have occupied levels 83–102, with the 83rd and 84th floors having a star-shaped sky lobby which would have "burst" 9 metres outside of the building, similar to the Eureka Tower's Edge, only larger. The Commonwealth Star on the Flag of Australia was used as inspiration for the "starburst."
Fender Katsalidis Architects incorporated the Chinese system of geomancy, known as Feng shui, when developing the new proposal. The building's name, height and top floor all contain the number 8, which "relates to prosperity, abundance and security."
The new proposal was subjected to a second planning application process for approval. On 5 March 2013, the City of Melbourne council voted to oppose the development, citing it as an "over-development of the site." The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, a Shrine of Remembrance trustee, argued that the building would exceed the council's planning scheme in the area by almost 300 metres and it could potentially create a 1.7 kilometre shadow over the Shrine of Remembrance. However, the Shrine's CEO, Denis Baguley, believed otherwise, stating, "I don't believe there are issues of overshadowing that will concern us." VCAT had already approved the project, but the final decision was up to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Despite concerns, the project received its final approval on 18 March 2013 from Guy, who went onto describe the development as "a magnificent addition to Melbourne's skyline. Australia 108 will be a signature development that will define Melbourne for decades to come."
Construction on the $600 million development was to have commenced in 2014, and would have taken three to four years to build, with completion around 2018. The construction was expected to have created 300 jobs in construction and hospitality industries. Upon completion, Australia 108 would have become the tallest building in Australia – surpassing The Gold Coast's Q1 (323 m / 1,058 ft) and Melbourne's Eureka Tower (297 m / 975 ft) – and would have therefore been the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, and the only building to have over 100 floors.
In April 2013 it was reported that Australia 108 would have infringed on federal regulations protecting aircraft safety, known as PANS-OPS, particularly in regard to aircraft departing and arriving at Essendon Airport, located some 13 kilometres to the north of the project site. At the time, it was claimed that the tower would have extended 13 metres into Essendon Airport's flight path "envelope," whose southerly approach requires a 373-metre height limit to any potential obstruction within 15 kilometres of the airfield. When asked about this situation, architect Nonda Katsilidis claimed that the flight paths would not be a problem, and that a technical solution could be drawn up if required. He also stressed that any design changes would be "minimal." 
Despite this, the project (in its original form) was officially shelved in July 2013 following its inability to meet a "hybrid of requirements" from authorities such as VicRoads and CASA - the latter of which stated that there was "no flexibility" to approve a building that breached height restrictions.
The project was bought for approximately $30 million by Singapore developer Aspial Corporation, during late-2013. Plans were later resubmitted to the Department of Planning in 2014, for a new proposal; a 100-storey, 319 metre tall apartment tower, to comprise 1,105 apartments. The hotel from the previous design was removed from the plans. Planning Minister Guy previously held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, regarding the 373-metre height restrictions on inner city buildings.
If completed, the skyscraper will become Australia’s tallest building to roof, Australia’s second tallest building (surpassed by the Q1 at 323 metres) and the southern hemisphere's only building to comprise 100 levels.
Approval for the newest proposal was granted by Minister Guy on 25 June, 2014.
Construction of the $900 million residential skyscraper is set to commence in mid-2015, with completion in 2019.
- Planning Minister approves Australia 108, a 100-storey apartment tower to be built at Southbank. Herald Sun. 25 June 2014
- Melbourne to be the home of the tallest apartment block in the southern hemisphere with 100-storey building set to be built. Daily Mail. 26 June 2014
- Planning Minister Matthew Guy approves Australia 108 project for Southbank. Herald Sun. 17 March 2013
- Southbank tower’s level lopped due to air safety regulations. Herald Sun. 29 April 2014
- A Second Eureka Tower for Soutbank?. RealEstate Source. 28 April 2008
- Indian Developer Plans $600 Million Development in Southbank. RealEstate Source. 12 May 2008
- Site for Eureka’s more golden sister tower in Melbourne’s Southbank listed with $25 million price tag. Property Observer. 20 March 2013
- Approval stands for Southbank development. Architecture & Design. 7 September 2010
- Council to tackle city skyscraper backers. The Age. 17 May 2010
- Southbank high-rise gets OK from VCAT. The Age. 6 September 2010
- Eureka team abandons Melbourne tower site. The Australian. 12 July 2012
- Grant, McArthur (12 November 2012). "Planned super skyscraper in Southbank would dominate Melbourne's skyline". Herald Sun. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Rising high: 108-storey super tower planned for Melbourne". Yahoo!7. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Chancellor, Jonothan (12 November 2012). "Australia 108 has a few hurdles to overcome before it's the southern hemisphere's highest". Property Observer. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Australia 108 - About. Australia108.com.au
- 'Super tower’ planned for Melbourne. Meeting the World. 13 February 2013
- World's Tallest Building in the Southern Hemisphere to Be Built in Melbourne, Australia. Travelers Today. 21 March 2013
- Feng shui lures Asian 108 buyers. The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 March 2013
- City councillors vote to oppose plans for a tower that could put Shrine of Remembrance in shadows. Herald Sun. 5 March 2013
- Lord Mayor Robert Doyle casts doubt on titanic tower he says could put Shrine of Remembrance in shadows. Herald Sun. 28 February 2013
- Tallest building in southern hemisphere approved. ABC News. 18 March 2013
- Southbank mega-tower gets the go-ahead. The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 March 2013
- Investors size up hotel market, but high dollar remains a hurdle. The Australian. 20 April 2013
- $600m Australia 108 is all go. Accomnews. 20 March 2013
- Going up Down Under: Southern Hemisphere's tallest building. CNN. 21 March 2013
- Our tallest tower, at 388m, is highly pre-fab. The Australian. 19 March 2013
- Australia 108 approved. Neos Kosmos. 19 March 2013
- Coast's Q1 to lose tall title. Gold Coast Bulletin. 20 March 2013
- Australia 108, 452 Elizabeth Street and 84-90 Queensbridge Street gain Ministerial approval. UrbanMelbourne. 26 June 2014