Plans for retirement village, apartments at ex-Channel Nine studio

Channel Nine have shifted from their Bendigo St, Richmond, address after 53 years. Pic shows The Channel Nine studio in 1964. THE AGE . news . NOVEMBER 25, 2010 . pic from Channel Nine archives . The site of the former Channel Nine television studios in Richmond could soon become a retirement and aged-care hub.

Property developer giant Lendlease has lodged an updated application for the unfinished parts of its project at 22 Bendigo Street, once the entertainment capital of Melbourne.

The amended application seeks to scale up the development, increasing the height of some buildings from six to nine storeys. The developers have also honoured planning scheme provisions to include a small portion of affordable housing on the site.

Yarra council in 2012 approved the original development plans after Lendlease bought the GTV9 site in 2010 for an estimated $50 million.

The entire site consists of seven separate plots of land, combined to create four major precincts, referred to as the northern, southern, central and heritage precincts.

About 40 per cent of the site has already been developed, with the northern and heritage precincts completed years ago. The first residents moved into the complex in 2013 after the heritage-listed former Wertheim piano factory was developed into a mix of apartments and retail.

Lendlease has since appointed Bates Smart architecture firm to redesign the masterplan (originally designed by Hayball) for the central and southern precincts, with a new focus on retirement and aged care accommodation.

If approved, the site will boast 332 dwellings in total and include a 144-bed aged-care facility, with the project’s gross floor area coming in just under 45,000 square metres.

Lendlease has partnered with Catholic Healthcare, which will run the aged-care facility on site if the project gets the green light.

In its application to Yarra council last week, the developer said the new plans responded to the needs of the local community’s ageing population. The municipality’s population aged over 65 is predicted to grow at a rate of 44 per cent per annum by 2031, according to .id, a demographic research company.

“[T]here will be an additional 10,000 Yarra residents over 65 by 2031, more than double the number there is today,” the Lendlease proposal stated. “This figure highlights the need for a solution to enable residents within the City of Yarra to age in place.”

The proposed facilities for residents living in the retirement village include swimming pool, cinema, library, bar, games room and dining area.

Women’s Housing Ltd, a Cremorne-based organisation that links women with secure and affordable housing, will own and manage the affordable housing on site, which amounts to roughly 5 per cent of the project’s dwellings.

If the amended plans are approved, construction will continue in three stages with the final stage wrapping up in 2021.

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