The long-awaited development at the site of the former Duke of Kent hotel at 303 La Trobe Street is primed to commence construction, with Icon having been announced preferred builder for the project.
The 671sq m site, purchased in 2015 as two adjoining blocks by Singaporean developer Figtree Holdings, was sold in late 2018 for $35 million, almost double the amount Figtree acquired it for.
The buyer is set to undertake a student accommodation project on the site, playing to market strengths and facilitating Melbourne’s growing education sector.
The $85m project will deliver a 45-storey Uni Lodge, designed by Nettleton Tribe, designer of the recently-completed Uni Lodge Royal Melbourne on Wreckyn Street.
The project was originally marketed in 2016 as 303 La Trobe, a high-rise residential building with 215 apartments designed by DKO Architects.
At the time of sale, Figtree cited administrative and contract negotiation issues with the original main contractor as reasons for its departure from the project.
The new build will add to Icon’s pipeline of student accommodation projects, which includes 488-bed Iglu in South Yarra and a $50m building at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.
The recent apartment downturn in Melbourne has resulted in an uptick of student accommodation buildings, with a number of abandoned apartment developments being converted into high-rise student hubs.
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