Long Slog to Southport Skinny Tower Approval

An anxious three-year wait for an architect and a builder-developer has finally paid off after Gold Coast City Council last week gave its blessing to a 30-storey skinny tower, rising 110m above Southport Spit.

Granton Constructions and designers Place Studio won development approval for 60 apartments and eight levels of commercial space on just 774sq m, just a stone’s throw from the water.

The developer first filed plans for the two tiny lots at 4 and 4A in Railway Street in December of 2020.

Even getting to the point of lodging documents for such a feat of engineering has had its challenges.

At a pre-lodgement meeting with Gold Coast, council officers questioned the 50-storey height, the nine-storey podium and boundary setbacks only slightly bigger than an AFL tall forward.

The development team agreed to lower the building height by 20 storeys, the podium reduced to four storeys and the western boundary setback increased from 2.5m to 4.1 metres.

Place Studio designed the tower and ironed out the problems.

Managing director James Alexander-Hatziplis said the biggest issue was always yield considerations around structural requirements for tall skinny towers.

“Tall skinny towers are very under-resourced in terms of what structural requirements are needed,” he told The Urban Developer.

▲ At a meeting with council officers the development team agreed to lower the building height from 50 to 30 storeys.

“So really, designs on these towers start with a considered structural system. And then the uses are infilled to maximise efficiencies.

“It’s a much more thought-out arrangement for what goes in the tower, so that fundamentally the cost of building such a tall tower is not prohibitive. That’s the big issue.”

To add to design headaches, the rectangular-shaped site has three street frontages—one to Railway Street and two others to Fig Tree Lane.

Seventeen levels are given over to residential units and eight levels to 2285sq m of commercial floor space. A double-storey lobby is spread over the ground and first floors.

The plans call for 29 single-bedroom units, another 29 of two bedrooms, and single three and five-bedroom apartments.

The commercial space is earmarked for a range of possible businesses, including offices, education facilities and healthcare services.

Seventy carparking spaces will be squeezed into three basement levels, with two car lifts.

About 450sq m of communal space will include a pool and deck terrace, gymnasium and gardens.

In securing final approval, Zone Town Planning pointed out Gold Coast council in May of 2018 had approved a 41-storey, mixed-use residential tower with 349 short-stay apartments, food and drink outlets and some retail elements on a neighbouring block at 3 Railway Street.

“It took a long time to get this approved because we were really squeezing a lot in, trying to get that site to do a lot,” Alexander-Hatziplis said.

“And it’s quite a complex building in its consideration.

“When you look at it, and now it’s all completed it seems like a simple kind of solution,” he said.

“But that building’s doing a lot to get everything in such a tight little footprint.”

Article source: www.theurbandeveloper.com

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