Jason DowlingSeptember 30, 2010
An artist’s impression of how the Portrait building will look.
APARTMENTS at a proposed 32-storey CBD development are being advertised for sale and deposits taken despite the project still awaiting planning approval.
It is the second city apartment development in three months to begin advertising before receiving planning approval.
Planning Minister Justin Madden will face a parliamentary committee grilling today into the controversial planning process behind the $260 million Windsor Hotel redevelopment and questions are now being asked about other CBD development proposals and the planning process.
Grocon has started advertising apartments for sale at its proposed Portrait development at the Carlton end of Swanston Street that is expected to deliver 530 apartments when complete in 2014.
The 32-storey building could soon become a Melbourne landmark, with the image of indigenous leader William Barak sculptured across its 100-metre-high facade.
While the project is yet to receive planning approval from Mr Madden, this has not prevented Grocon from beginning the apartment sale process.
”Now selling. A new and inspired landmark. A portrait of contemporary Melbourne. Studio 1 & 2 bedrooms starting from $295,000,” yesterday’s advertisement said.
The developer has already received 20 deposits for apartments at the site.
Greens MP Greg Barber yesterday questioned the timing of the advertisement.
”The Grollos [Daniel Grollo is Grocon chief executive] must know something we don’t know because no permit’s been approved,” Mr Barber said.
Grocon spokeswoman Jane Wilson said the company had planning approval overall for the former CUB site and this included for apartment developments such as Portrait.
”We are going through the process for the approval of the building’s finishes,” she said, noting that the deposits were small amounts confirming expressions of interest.
Grocon’s Carlton Brewery general manager David Waldren confirmed earlier this month that the Portrait building was still awaiting a planning permit from Mr Madden.
In June, developer Far East Consortium took out half-page newspaper ads for its proposed West Side development on the former power station site on Lonsdale Street. At the time, the project – which included 2500 apartments and four towers – was yet to receive planning approval.
Stacy Nivert, spokeswoman for Mr Madden, said ”no one should pre-empt what a planning decision will be”.
A spokeswoman for Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said potential buyers ”must be advised that a planning permit has not been secured before they sign a contract of sale”.