Tower on King casts a shorter shadow

Another tall building proposed for the lower end of Melbourne's King Street continues a trend towards skyscrapers on small city sites.

Another tall building proposed for the lower end of Melbourne's King Street continues a trend towards skyscrapers on small city sites.

Plans for a soaring 43-level building on a small site at 33-35 King Street were rejected two years ago, but the developer, Australian Hotel Developments, is now seeking approval for a shorter, 29-level, tower on the site.

The site on the corner of Flinders Lane measures just 14-by-23 metres.

The plans require demolition of the existing two-level, brown-brick Stokes Building, bought by AHD in 2007 for $6,000,000.

One of Melbourne's tallest, thinnest buildings, the Phoenix apartments, is under construction in Flinders Street.

The 29-storey edifice — originally designed to be 131 metres tall — is squeezed on to a mere six-by-24-metre block and has one apartment on each level.

Another 35-storey tower at the top end of the CBD on the corner of Russell and Little Lonsdale streets called Crystal Gardens has gained planning approval, but is yet to be constructed on a 21-by-18 square- metre site.

The $80 million Russell Street building was designed by the same firm that mapped out plans for the King Street development, architecture practice CK Designworks.

The original King Street proposal, which included substantial office space as well as 168 apartments, was rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The updated building plan will be devoted entirely to apartments with retail at ground level.

VCAT ruled out approval for a 43-level building because of concerns about overshadowing nearby Batman Park on the Yarra riverbank. AHD director Dean Lovig said the new plans were modelled with help of Melbourne City Council's simulation software to reduce the impact of overshadowing.

"We've reduced the height of the building so the shadow doesn't fall in that park," he said.

But the trend towards maximising height comes with a price - the building will not have any car parking. The project cost was likely to exceed $80 million and included five apartments per floor, a total mix of about 140 one and two-bedroom units.

"It's a relatively small site so the build cost is not huge," Mr Lovig said.

sjohanson@fairfaxmedia.com.au