Seafarers leads industry discussion on new benchmarks in urban renewal

12 August 2022

On August 4, Riverlee Development Director David Lee presented at The Urban Developer’s Urbanity conference on the Gold Coast, providing an insight into how Seafarer’s rich history and riverfront site conditions paved the way for the project to deliver a new gold standard in urban renewal.

Reactivating a forgotten part of the city, and breathing new life into the heritage-listed Goods Shed No. 5, Seafarers will attract Melbournians into the Northbank precinct with public amenities such as Seafarers Rest Park and Australia’s first 1 Hotel.

When Riverlee first embarked on the Seafarers journey, some site conditions were identified as potential challenges to the project’s success, such as its challenging ground conditions, various encumbrances, and it being a leasehold land holding agreement situated on Crown land.

Despite this, Riverlee recognised the site as a unique opportunity to bring value and activate one of the last undeveloped riverfront sites in Melbourne’s CBD.

Building with history and not over it is a focus for Riverlee, and this site was no exception.  The heritage-listed site, which features the Goods Shed No. 5 and the Malcolm Moore Crane, created a unique design opportunity to make this historically significant site meaningful to Melbourne once more.  David pointed out that “the most sustainable buildings are the ones that are already there. Every site we take on, in all of their uniqueness… we work with the existing urban fabric, and build upon it”.

For Riverlee, negotiating the site from leasehold to freehold allowed Seafarers to include a residential offering, a key factor in meaningfully renewing the urban environment by inviting new locals to call Seafarers home.  During his presentation David highlighting the awareness that “culture and community aren’t built by developers or architects, they are built by people”.

As a truly mixed-use precinct, Riverlee also invited the sustainable luxury 1 Hotels brand to open their first Australian property at Seafarers, bringing with it restaurants, bars, event spaces and a day spa, in addition to accommodation, to further enhance public engagement.

For the Seafarers community, the establishment of hotel-branded residences unlocked unparalleled access to five-star service and amenity never before seen in Melbourne.

Riverlee continues to drive new ways to activate the Northbank precinct and renew the urban environment surrounding Seafarers. The site includes a 3,500 sqm public park called Seafarers Rest, aimed to promote day and night interaction with the waterfront for all Melbournians.

For residents of Seafarers, these amenities will provide ambience and cultural connection, all the while contributing to the unparalleled luxury of this one-of-a-kind boutique riverfront property.

By perceiving Seafarer’s site conditions as features that add richness to the project, rather than problems, Riverlee’s goal for Seafarers is to create a new future for a forgotten part of the city, honouring its heritage and working with key stakeholders to bring the vision for the Northbank precinct to life.

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