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DESIGN & STYLE

Melbourne's New Apple Store Could Be Axed as Federation Square Recommended for Permanent Heritage Status

A final decision will be made on the Victorian landmark's heritage status in 60 days.
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
October 18, 2018
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Melbourne's New Apple Store Could Be Axed as Federation Square Recommended for Permanent Heritage Status

A final decision will be made on the Victorian landmark's heritage status in 60 days.
By Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague
October 18, 2018
  shares

One of Melbourne's most controversial new building projects could be axed as Federation Square edges closer to having permanent heritage status.

The Victorian landmark, which was granted temporary heritage protection in August, was today recommended for permanent inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register by Heritage Victoria. Despite being only 16 years old, Fed Square has been recommended for heritage status on the basis of its "historical, architectural, aesthetic, cultural and technical significance" to Victoria.

If it gets the heritage tick, Fed Square won't be the first 'young' building to receive protection. Both the National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre were recognised as having state-level heritage significance soon after their completion — which does give some hope.

The recommendation will be advertised for 60 days — allowing time for community feedback — before the Heritage Council of Victoria, an independent body, makes its final decision. If the permanent heritage protection does go ahead, it could thwart Apple's plans to build its first Australian flagship store in the Square.

After being announced late last year, Apple's proposed Fed Square store has received considerable community backlash, with new designs revealed in July in response. The opposition to the store isn't just about how it looks, though, but the fact that it'll tear down and replace the existing Yarra Building and also displace the Koorie Heritage Trust in the process. Contentiously, it'll also see public land sold off to a commercial retailer.

At present, the temporary heritage protection, which is in place until December 21, prevents any work on the new Apple store from commencing — and any work on another big change taking place in the vicinity, the Metro Tunnel. Fed Square's visitor centre is set to be demolished to build an entry to the tunnel, with work due to begin imminently. To proceed according to schedule, contractor Cross Yarra Partnership will need to apply for a permit or exemption to go ahead — something it has already done, according to The Age.

The Heritage Council of Victoria is scheduled to make its final decision regarding Federation Square's heritage status on December 18, 2018. Until then, the square is still covered by its temporary protection.

Image: Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

Published on October 18, 2018 by Sarah Ward

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