Convention Centre set to go

The former Melbourne Convention Centre on the edge of the Yarra River is set to be demolished to make way for two commercial towers.

The former Melbourne Convention Centre on the edge of the Yarra River is set to be demolished to make way for two commercial towers.

Veteran developer Clement Lee's privately held company Asset 1 WTC and another firm Hanz (Spencer Street) have lodged plans to raze the low-rise building that abuts the prominent semi-circle Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The concrete structure on the Spencer Street junction where the CBD, Southbank and Docklands meet was offloaded by the Victorian government in 2010 after the new Melbourne Convention Centre on the opposite bank of the river was completed.

Hanz, which owns the Crowne Plaza, is controlled by Sydney-based Eureka Funds Management.

Asset 1 WTC and Hanz justify the demolition bid as a way to consolidate separate ownership of the Crowne Plaza and the Convention Centre.

"As part of these title separation works, extensive work on the separation of services is required. For this to occur, the former Melbourne Convention Centre building is required to be demolished," the plans state.

The building's demise will be a positive outcome as it had "minimal active street frontages" and "turns its back on the public realm," they said.

The former Convention Centre will be levelled and its site landscaped into a temporary public park at the cost of $3 million, which includes minor work to be done on the exterior of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building.

Two commercial buildings were approved for the Convention Centre site by Planning Minister Matthew Guy late last year. They include 23 and 16-storey towers with a total of about 70,000 square metres of space.

Asset 1 has carved a niche in the World Trade Centre precinct, signing up Victoria Police for a five-year lease in the precinct's Tower Two.

sjohanson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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