Heritage Victoria rejects Apple’s Federation Square demolition
News / By , 5 April 2019 at 2:42pm
Apple's proposal for a major store at Melbourne's Federation Square has been rejected by Heritage Victoria.

Federation Square’s management supported Apple’s proposed demolition of the existing Yarra Building to make way for a new structure to house one of the tech giant’s global flagship stores.

The move would have significantly changed the site’s appearance from the Yarra River and major public spaces, and was rejected by Melbourne City councillors last month.

The state Labor government supported the development.

Heritage Victoria, the body responsible for protection of major landmarks in Melbourne, today informed those who made a submission on the proposal that it had been rejected.

The message confirmed the demolition of the existing Yarra Building, construction of a replacement building, and public space works had all been rejected.

Heritage Victoria determined the works would have had “an unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square.”

“Only in exceptional circumstances would a permit be provided for the demolition of a heritage building,” the determination read. “Where demolition has been approved by Heritage Victoria in the past, it has usually been due to issues relating to contamination or structural integrity.

“These issues are not present in respect to the Yarra Building.

According to Heritage Victoria, the proposed development would have been “visually dominant in relation to existing buildings”, detracted “from the design language of the existing buildings and public square,” diminished “the experience of enclosure within the public square”, and encroached into the public square.

In making its decision, the body acknowledged rejection would “prevent the economic benefits of the proposed use and development”, but “while it is accepted that the Yarra Building does not meet the particular functional and operational requirements of an Apple Global Flagship Store, it has not been sufficiently demonstrated that the requirements of a more conventional retail or commercial outlet could not be met without having such a significant impact.”

State government to review Fed Square

UPDATE: 3.10pm

Victoria’s state government has just released this statement on Heritage Victoria’s decision:

“The Andrews Labor Government will launch a review into Federation Square, following today’s determination from Heritage Victoria.

“Apple and the Victorian Government have acknowledged that based on Heritage Victoria’s decision, the proposed Apple global flagship store cannot proceed.

“Today’s decision, along with the construction of the new Town Hall Station entry and the redevelopment of ACMI provides an opportunity to re-think the future vision of the iconic precinct.

“The review will examine Federation Square’s financial and governance arrangements, ensuring that it continues to grow as an innovative and exciting place for our community.

“Victorian Government Architect Jill Garner and former managing partner of Ernst and Young Tim Eddy will jointly chair the review, working closely with the Chair of the Federation Square board.

“The review will tap into the vision Victorians and the very best urban design minds have for Melbourne’s public square – considering ways to deliver more public space, encourage public gatherings and provide better access to the Yarra River.

“It will also look at ways to take better advantage of nearby creative and sporting precincts and new transport links.

“Victorians will get a chance to have their say on the future of Federation Square, with public consultation to take place as part of the review, which will be completed by the end of 2019.

“The Koorie Heritage Trust be able to remain in the Yarra Building while the review is undertaken. The Trust’s plan for relocation within the site will form part of the review.”

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Tags: apple federation square heritage victoria koorie heritage trust melbourne

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