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Brisbane council approves narrow 30-storey tower on top of heritage building

Brisbane Council has approved an application to turn a heritage building into a 30-storey commercial tower, which would be one of the narrowest in the city.

Brisbane City Council has approved a development application to turn a 135-year old heritage building into a 30-storey, multi-use commercial tower, which would be one of the narrowest in the city.

The Grosvenor Hotel, located at 320 George Street was originally built between 1881 and 1882 and was heritage listed due to its rarity, representativeness and special association.

The new development, designed by architectural firm Hames Sharley, will keep the building’s original façade as an acknowledgement of the building’s history and will be restored by Malcolm Elliot from Vault Heritage Consulting.

Hames Sharley Principal, Jason Preston, said the tower’s narrowness meant the design needed to be innovative to deal with the challenges of structural tension, compression and stability.

“At just nine and a half metres wide and 30 storeys tall, we believe this would be the narrowest building of a comparable height in Brisbane,” Preston said.

“Given the building’s four lifts are designed as a ‘side core’ to the west boundary wall, a building of this kind will twist and sway differently to a traditional tower, which is usually anchored by a number of central lifts, stair cores and a larger floor plate.

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“Working closely in collaboration with Currie and Brown (project managers) and ADG (structural and façade engineers), we proposed a hybrid ‘exo-skeleton’ bracing system for the building, both as a structural necessity and to visually anchor the building, whilst retaining a typical continuous glazed curtain wall as the external skin.”

The building is owned by Lionmar Holdings and will feature 9100 metres of commercial office space, three levels of restaurant space, 17 carparks and a rooftop bar.

Most of the interior heritage features were gutted in the 1980s, when the building was rebuilt internally.

Existing brickwork has been covered in plaster during one of the previous renovations, and Hames Sharley is proposing to peel back the layers of render to re-expose the brick work internally in the lobby.

Preston said Hames Sharley’s design incorporated the client’s desire for a grand entrance that honoured the heritage status of the existing building.

“At the building’s base, the fine dining restaurant will feature a three-storey open view to the city that will give diners an indoor and outdoor experience by taking full advantage of the beautiful sub-tropical Brisbane climate,” Preston said.

“Atop 320 George Street, the rooftop bar will feature prominent views across the Brisbane River to South Brisbane and through the CBD.

“There is also an expansive 400 square metre city room and garden on level 14 for tenants to enjoy, which is becoming a normal integrated part of key CBD developments since the inception of BCC’s Building’s that Breathe Guide.”

Construction is expected to begin before Christmas 2019 as a result of the development application approval.

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