THE burgeoning expansion of one of Australia’s fastest growing regional cities has been bolstered with Franzé Developments securing planning approval from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for its $150 million Geelong development – the largest mixed-use project in the region.
Located at 44 Ryrie Street within the Geelong Activity Centre Zone, the 2,700 square metre gateway site will comprise 1,000 square metres ground floor retail, 7,400 square metres office space, 24 residential apartments and a 180 bed hotel, all connected by a highly activated street level plane with public access.
In a coup for Geelong’s hotel and tourism sector, global hotel operator InterContinental Hotels Group signed a 20-year management agreement to operate the 180 bed hotel in late 2017.
The $75 million Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong will be the first in Australia and the largest new hotel project in the region in almost 20 years.
Paul Franzé, founder and managing director of Franzé Developments, said he was thrilled to receive approval for the gateway site as Geelong develops into the region’s epicentre for retail, tourism and employment due to its strong population and economic growth.
“Our vision for the Ryrie Street site is to deliver a truly mixed-use project that responds to the Central Geelong Action Plan that will see Geelong evolve from its manufacturing roots to a city of culture and innovation,” Mr Franzé said.
Geelong is now one of Australia’s fastest growing regional cities, with population expected to grow by more than 150,000 people in the next 20 years, and the urban environment and amenity needs to respond accordingly.
“Geelong has a diverse and strong economy with over 17,000 businesses and a highly skilled labour force.
“It continues to attract new residents and investment due to its livability and proximity to Melbourne, combined with increasing employment opportunities and affordability.”
Architectus, the design studio behind 1 Bligh Street, Sydney and 383 La Trobe Street, Melbourne (in collaboration with world renowned architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel), has been appointed as the project design team, with Hansen Partnership managing the project’s urban planning.
Located on a prominent corner at the intersection of Ryrie and Fenwick Streets, the project design embraces the future direction of Geelong while celebrating its history.
Managing Principal at Architectus, Matthew Smith, said the design of 44 Ryrie Street draws upon the history of both the city and the site.
“The materiality, rhythm and scaling of the buildings reference the iconic wool stores of Geelong, and the grain of the city’s rich heritage fabric,” Mr Smith said.
The site, which was home to John Orchard Furniture and was previously an intercity bus depot, was purchased from John Orchard for $7 million in 2017.
Demolition is underway and construction is scheduled to start in late 2018, with completion expected in mid-2020.
The apartments are expected to start selling in October 2018.