Hansen secures approval for $150 million mixed use project in Geelong

Geelong is going from strength to strength with Hansen Partnership securing planning approval for Franzé Developments’ $150 million Ryrie Street project – the largest mixed-use project in the region.

Located at 44 Ryrie Street within the Geelong Activity Centre Zone, the 2700 square metre gateway site will comprise 1000 square metres ground floor retail, 7400 square metres office space, 24 residential apartments and a 180 bed hotel, all connected by an activated street level plane with public access.

Global hotel operator InterContinental Hotels Group have 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.

Damian Iles, Director Planning at Hansen Partnership says he is pleased to support Franzé Developments’ application which follows a series of major commercial projects that have arrived in Geelong in the last few years due, in part, to a deliberate state and federal government strategy to shift resources into the city.

‘The approval by Planning Minister Wynne will support the continued revitalisation of Geelong.  It will deliver high quality commercial space as well as much needed short and long term residential accommodation within the Geelong CBD in line with the objectives of the Geelong Action Plan.

‘The Hansen team were able to proactively work through a strategy and manage a range of built form issues through a collaborative approach with key stakeholders at the City of Greater Geelong and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – specifically those in the Revitalising Central Geelong Partnership team,’ said Mr Iles.

Paul Franzé, Founder and Managing Director of Franzé Developments says he is 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 44 Ryrie Street site is to deliver a truly mixed-use project that responds to the Central Geelong Action Plan which will see Geelong evolve from its manufacturing roots to a city of culture and innovation. Given the scale and complexity of the project, we were grateful to have Hansen Partnership on board to navigate the planning approval process.

‘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 liveability and proximity to Melbourne, combined with increasing employment opportunities and affordability,’ said Mr Franzé.

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.

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 and building on the character and amenity of the neighbouring civic building vernacular.

The orientation of the site forms a 90 metre northern frontage to Ryrie Street with a physical split, creating a public thoroughfare linking Ryrie Street to Cuzens Place. The tower elements vary in height across the precinct, with subtle articulation of each component’s (hotel, office and apartments) personality throughout the design.

The offices and apartments will have access to communal outdoor spaces and a vertical green wall is proposed to face Ryrie Street to create a backdrop for the plaza and connect the planting from ground level to the podium terraces. The upper levels will access views towards Corio Bay and beyond.

The site was previously home to John Orchard Furniture and an intercity bus depot.

Demolition is underway and construction is scheduled to commence in late 2018, with completion expected in mid 2020.

The Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong is scheduled to open in 2020 and will target the longer stay segment of the tourism market. The property will include an all-day dining restaurant and bar, swimming pool, gym, parking and 300 square metres of meeting facilities, including a function room for 250 people.