Vacant Site Within the “Golden Mile,” Corner of La Trobe and Victoria Streets: Call for Expressions of Interest

RSV aerial triangle
Site within World Heritage Environs Area

The Royal Society of Victoria occupies a triangular site granted in perpetuity to the land’s Trustees for the purpose of supporting the activities of the Society.

Since 1907, the ‘tip’ of the triangle bounded by La Trobe Street, Victoria Street and the Caretaker’s Cottage has been occupied by one of the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather stations, which  offered a useful scientific purpose on a site dedicated to the promotion of the sciences in society.  Sadly, after 107 years the lease with the Bureau came to an end in 2014, with the site now vacant but for a single, ‘heritage’ utility shed c.1920.

RSV corner
Corner of La Trobe and Victoria Streets

The Society needs to plan the future use of the site and now calls on the Melbourne community to submit expressions of interest in the development of this highly visible CBD corner.

The site is a triangular area of 173.68 square meters. It is zoned as Mixed Use (MUZ) and Victoria Parade is classified as a Road Zone Category 1. Under the MUZ a range of uses are permitted, including offices, dwellings and shops. The entire site is affected by Heritage Overlay 494 and a Parking Overlay that specifies a maximum of 1 car space per title.

Under Clause 21.12, the site is to have a lower scale than the remainder of the Hoddle Grid to provide an enduring contrast in the built form scale. Meanwhile, Clause 22.21 (Heritage Places within the World Heritage Environs Area (WHEA)) is relevant to the site as it is located within the WHEA area of Greater Sensitivity, due to its proximity to the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens directly across the road. The objectives of this clause are to protect significant views and vistas to the Exhibition Building and Gardens, while maintaining and conserving the significant historic character of the area. It is policy to retain the predominantly lower scale form of development, which contrasts with the dominant scale of the Exhibition Building.

Given these constraints, we would anticipate any proposed development on this site would need to consider a building of two storeys or less, with a sensitive design response to the adjacent precinct. Any proposals that involve or consider the Society’s mission to promote the sciences in Victoria would be favourably received; these might include a themed design, or an actual scientific enterprise. Consideration of developing and installing a significant, science-themed sculpture in this precinct is underway with the board of Wonderment Walk Victoria.

We would be very interested in hearing any proposals for the future use of this site. Flexible and attractive leasing arrangements will be available for the right tenant, with funds raised directed to supporting the Society’s program of prizes, awards and outreach for developing and recognising outstanding scientists in the State of Victoria, along with the maintenance and development of the heritage facilities in the Society’s main Hall.

Costed proposals of no more than three pages should be submitted to the Executive Director, Mr Mike Flattley at [email protected] sciencevictoria.org.au by no later than 31 August, 2015.  Mike can be contacted for further discussion on (03) 9663 5259.