PDG Corporation has begun building a five-level podium next to the former Ansett building in Swanston Street as it pushes ahead with plans for a 400-room hotel on its Southbank site and a 200-apartment tower in Elizabeth Street.
The Melbourne-based developer, founded by Vince Giuliano, has its headquarters in the brown, 1980s octagonal building which it owns jointly with entrepreneur Bobby Zagame.
It recently signed up Brookfield Multiplex on a 15-year lease as a major tenant and will extend the podium to 10,000 square metres to house the existing Audi dealership, a new showroom for luxury car brand Maserati and a cafe-eatery.
PDG has, until recently, focused on apartment projects. Its most recent development, a partnership with the Schiavello Group to build the 67-storey tower Prima Pearl tower in Southbank, is under construction.
Melbourne is facing a wave of apartment developments which has prompted caution from local lenders and concerns about oversupply but Mr Giuliano said the group had little difficulty funding its projects.
"We've never really worried about stock on market. We've had every leading major bank in Australia funding our projects," he said.
The group sold more than half of its latest boutique development - the 108 apartments in the Ryan & Leveson building in Leveson Street, North Melbourne - within six weeks.
The top level of the $60 million development has been converted to three-bedroom apartments following buyer demand, he said.
PDG has submitted plans for another 200-plus apartments in a $100 million project on the corner of Elizabeth and Pelham streets at the south end of the Haymarket roundabout. The site currently houses a two-storey heritage building and city Peugeot dealership and is opposite Melbourne University's distinctive faculty of business building.
It hopes to begin construction of the Elenberg Fraser-designed apartments mid-2014.
PDG has resubmitted plans to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy for a larger, more controversial project in Southbank.
The $500 million project, another joint venture with Schiavello, will include several towers that will house 604 apartments, 20 serviced apartments, 630 car spaces and a 408-room five-star hotel. The fresh plans include the original 71-storey skyscraper that was approved last year for a portion of the site, which angered nearby residents in 62-level Freshwater Place concerned about the impact the platinum glass construction would have on sunlight and views.
If completed, it will be Australia's second tallest building to roof height. Schiavello owns the site from 1-23 Queensbridge Street.
Mr Giuliano said discussions were under way with an international group to manage the hotel.
"We relooked at the whole project and thought that it lent itself to a commercial use given its location opposite Crown Casino," he said. "We're looking at starting sometime towards the middle of next year."