Charter Hall Group has received planning approval for a new 5,000 square metre (sqm) public space at its transformative Wesley Place precinct in Melbourne’s CBD.
Designed by landscape architects, OCULUS, in collaboration with Cox Architects, the public space will be one of only four green spaces in the CBD grid and will provide a place for Wesley Place tenants, CBD workers and visitors to gather, relax and recharge in nature.
Set to be available to the public from mid-2020, the public space will include a vibrant food and beverage retail offering, as well as 520 sqm of lawn and native flora to complement the existing heritage-listed olive and elm trees on-site.
In line with the wider Wesley Place precinct, the space will be technology-enabled, with features such as outdoor power outlets with USB charging ports, digital maps for wayfinding and solar-powered ‘smart bins’ that self-compact and alert maintenance staff when they require emptying.
Wesley Place will also offer access to free public Wi-Fi for its tenant customers and visitors.
Charter Hall Regional Development Director, Simon Stockfeld, said the receipt of the approval is another exciting milestone for the transformative $1.5 billion precinct.
“When it opens in mid-2020, the space will create a sanctuary in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, providing the community and our Wesley Place tenants with a diverse, future-ready and tech-enabled space for people to collaborate, converge and communicate on a daily basis,” he said.
“Connection with the outdoor environment has been a key focus throughout the design of the Wesley Place precinct. From cascading outdoor terraces on the upper levels of 130 Lonsdale Street, to treelined avenues and public green spaces, the expanse of greenery will become a major drawcard for productivity and communities in our evolving city,” Mr Stockfeld commented.
Thoughtfully integrated with a number of historical buildings that are being fully restored at Wesley Place, the design of the public space will preserve the legacies of those who first laid the foundations within the precinct – instilling a new legacy for future generations to reflect on.
For those wanting to discover more about the history of precinct, the space will also include an interactive Heritage Trail, featuring QR code enabled educational plaques that link to information on the history of the site online, and a series of artefacts on display found during archaeological digs at the site.
Director of OCULUS, Bob Earl, said that heritage was a major source of inspiration for the design of the public area at Wesley Place, but that it needed to be balanced with contemporary uses and expectations.
“The layout of seating, gardens and lawn respects the orthogonal layout of the buildings and variation in textures will be used to connect the new with the old. The open lawn at the Little Lonsdale end provides a generous green space focused around existing trees, one of which is the oldest olive tree in Australia,” said Mr Earl.