Melbourne’s CBD has recently welcomed a stylish new addition: Tan Tat, a mixed use development offering 50+ Build to Rent apartments, plus commercial and retail. UPco worked alongside our friends at SJB on the project – and Associate Planner Isobell Vescovi gave us some insights into the journey.

The project in a nutshell

Situated on Elizabeth Street – one of the main thoroughfares in Melbourne’s CBD – this project involved transforming an old, low-rise workshop into a contemporary mixed use development. The owners and developers (Tung’s Development) brought us on board early in the process alongside SJB, who was responsible for the design. Together with a number of other project partners, we helped deliver a result that’s quite unlike anything in the city.

Clad in distinctive jade-tiled brick, the 13-storey Tan Tat building comprises 55 premium build to rent apartments, along with a roof terrace, 2 floors of commercial office space, and a dynamic ground-floor retail offering.

The process (and its challenges)

Heritage was one of the key considerations – there was a heritage overlay that meant we needed to appropriately protect and retain the brick façade of the original building. There was also the question of how the new development would respond to this heritage aesthetic, which is art deco in style. The team at SJB resolved this with a design that creates a thoughtful dialogue between old and new.

There were also a number of other practical considerations to work through, such as building height. Under the Design and Development Overlay that applied to the site, height was discretionary, so we looked to the surrounding buildings as a guide, and liaised with Melbourne City Council to agree on what was appropriate. Thought also had to be given to the building’s proximity to the nearby Last Chance Rock N Roll Bar – such as ensuring acoustics were managed effectively, protecting future residents from noise. Fortunately, thanks to the team’s early engagement in the project, we were able to work closely with Council to resolve these issues and get development approval, with only very minor alterations needing to be made to the proposed design.

Why we love this project

Prominent from all viewpoints, Tan Tat is a beautifully striking new addition to the city. “It’s not often you see a building with such an iconic aesthetic,” comments UPco’s Isobell Vescovi, who was involved with the project. “The custom jade tile is really something special, and it works well against the old brickwork. I think it’s also an example of how successful a project can be when the team is engaged from very early on – the process really did run smoothly and we are all delighted with the end result.”

Cover image © Copyright Tom Roe