The plan for Richmond’s Nylex site. Photo: supplied The Richmond site as it stands today. Photo: Supplied
The view of the planned buildings from South Yarra. Photo: Supplied
The view from South Yarra today. Photo: Supplied
The concrete silos beneath the Nylex sign could be saved as the site’s developer revises plans to placate the state’s heritage authority.
The Heritage Council is considering removing an exemption for the site that would have allowed the 1962 silos to be knocked over.
But developer Caydon, sensing the possible complete protection of all the towers, has revised its plans for The Malt District.
Instead of knocking down the silos completely, it will incorporate some of the structures into its plan for 1000 apartments on the sprawling Richmond site.
Fresh images and details of the plans were this week submitted to Heritage Victoria for assessment.
They show for the first time the huge scale of the towers planned by Caydon, owned by Joe Russo, who rose to prominence this year in his unsuccessful bid to join the Richmond Football Club board.
The Heritage Council could ultimately decide to classify the entire site, including the silos, as protected.
If it does deem the buildings crucial to Melbourne’s history, Caydon might find it hard to recoup the millions of dollars spent to acquire the run-down Richmond site.
There is an active residents group fighting Caydon’s plans for the site, which they say is a massive over-development of the area, that will exacerbate existing traffic issues.
“It’s still too big,” said one resident, John Saunderson, of the new plans. He lives in an apartment building that neighbours the site. “I don’t know why they are bloody-minded about it. Imagine what adding 1000 apartments will do to the area?”
Caydon’s new application will still see demolition of heritage listed walls and some malting buildings from the 1930s onwards.
But they will also include conservation works to a 1922 office building, and adaptation of other historic buildings from the 1880s through to the 1960s. There will also be a series of new apartment towers rising from 12 to 15 levels.
The Nylex sign and the silos were made particularly famous by singer Paul Kelly, whose 1986 hit Leaps and Bounds was accompanied by a video clip shot on the Nylex silo tower’s roof.
The application made by Caydon means the public now gets two weeks to make submissions responding to the fresh plans.
Caydon’s development manager for the project, Georgia Willis, said the Richmond site had been “neglected for far too long” and that the revised application showed Caydon was prepared to listen to concerns over its plan.
“The partial retention and readaptation of the silos supporting the Nylex clock shows our willingness to reach a compromise,” she said.
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