“Strong interest”: Major hotel groups fight to run landmark accom

Several global hotel brands are vying to run the accommodation element of Melbourne’s groundbreaking $2 billion ‘Green Spine’ development destined to become Australia’s tallest building.

The development on Southbank’s former BMW site will be constructed by Malaysian-backed Beulah International and encompass a pair of twisting towers shaped around a vertical ‘city’ of green spaces, terraces and verandas.

The design by Dutch firm UNStudio and Melbourne-based Cox Architecture beat off strong international competition to be chosen for the premier site on Southbank Boulevard and City Road.

The plan divides the development into two freestanding towers; a 356m residential tower topped with a publicly accessible botanic garden, and an opposite 252m tower incorporating the 220-room luxury hotel, as well as restaurants, bars and offices. The residential tower will become the nation’s tallest.

Conceived as a “conceptual extension of the Southbank Boulevard”, the Green Spine will provide a pedestrian connection through a series of stairs and stepped terraces, leading visitors up along the retail and entertainment precinct to The Garden.

At street level, it includes an Australian-first BMW experience centre, while a school, library and cinema will all occupy the lower levels of the towers.

Beulah says international hotel brands from Europe, North America and Asia are eyeing the opportunity and said the chosen brand was likely to debut in an “Australian first”. 

“Brands that are very selective in choosing cities and locations for their hotels have expressed strong interest in being part of our development,” managing director Jiaheng Chan said.

The lobby of the hotel will operate from the 57th floor, with rooms located across seven floors on levels 36 to 43.

The tower will also comprise a wellness precinct, a rooftop Michelin-star restaurant, events spaces and childcare facilities along with commercial and office space across the lower floors.

Beulah bought the prominent 6191sqm corner property at 58 Southbank Boulevard in 2017 for $101 million.

Planning approvals for the project are expected by mid-2020 with a construction partner and a hotel operator set to be announced early next year.

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