Melbourne’s urban landscape is reinvigorated as it embraces a newly completed architectural marvel, 308 Exhibition Street – a testament to its unceasing vitality. This development intertwines opulent residential skyscrapers with a soaring five-star hospitality haven, poised to meet the demands of a burgeoning population and an anticipated resurgence in the city’s tourism sector. With Melbourne’s populace projected to double by 2041 and a resplendent $4 billion influx into Victoria’s international tourism over the past year, 308 Exhibition Street emerges as a beacon ready to welcome residents and globetrotters for future generations.
A symphony of design and engineering orchestrated by the lauded Cox Architects in collaboration with Fender Katsalidis, the $600 million project manifests as twin towers punctuating Melbourne’s skyline. S P Setia, the eminent Malaysian developer, entrusted the delivery of this masterpiece to the premier global contractor, Multiplex.
308 Exhibition Street unites two towers in an architectural pas de deux – Tower 1, christened as ‘Sapphire by the Gardens’, a 59-storey residence boasting panoramic city vistas and exclusive amenities, while Tower 2 stands tall at 61 levels, poised to introduce Melbourne to its inaugural Shangri-La hotel.
Interwoven beneath the towers, an innovative mixed-use podium houses exclusive recreational facilities for Sapphire by the Gardens’ residents, an above-ground parking haven, and a versatile hotel function space. The crowning glory is the ‘sky bridge,’ an architectural feat linking the two towers at the 46th level. This avant-garde traverse accommodates plush residential amenities and an exclusive Sky Lounge catering to residents and hotel guests. Notably, its transparent ‘oculus’ glass floor offers a 360-degree panorama of the cityscape, allowing glimpses of the UNESCO-listed Royal Exhibition Building, standing sentinel over Carlton Gardens and Port Phillip Bay.
Mr. Ross Snowball, Regional Managing Director of Multiplex, shared, “We are thrilled to deliver this world-class precinct, and it is a testament to the collaboration and determination of our team and subcontractors.” The complexity of constructing twin towers concurrently, underscored by the challenge of the iconic 46-storey sky bridge, is a feat achieved through meticulous planning and innovation.
Over four and a half years, the construction process at 308 Exhibition Street metamorphosed into a veritable crucible of over 1,000 jobs, peaking at more than 500 workers on-site during prime periods.
A hallmark of the towers is the captivating sky bridge on Level 46, an engineering marvel linking Tower 1 and the impending Shangri-La hotel in Tower 2. This passageway houses an array of lavish residential amenities, including an exclusive Sky Lounge. Its transparent ‘oculus’ floor provides a celestial view of Melbourne’s skyline, encompassing the UNESCO-honoured Royal Exhibition Building. Crafting this bridge demanded innovative methodologies, with Multiplex preparing a temporary ‘protection deck’ beneath it for safe access, a masterpiece that earned 308 Exhibition Street the ASI 2022 National Award for Engineering Projects.
Tower 1, Sapphire by the Gardens, rises 60 levels, its curved glass façade a work of architectural ingenuity. The tower accommodates 325 luxury apartments, including two penthouses, including the magnificent ‘Super Penthouse’ flaunting a grand city view. Exclusive amenities span two floors: a heated pool, state-of-the-art gymnasium, sky lounge, cinema, and communal lounges with fireplaces.
At the zenith of Tower 1, the palatial Super Penthouse reigns supreme. This sprawling 1,200 square-meter duplex sets a new benchmark for Melbourne’s property market, evidenced by its unprecedented $39 million price tag, marking the highest-ever apartment sale in the city.
The forthcoming Shangri-La Hotel Melbourne is poised to redefine luxury, a beacon of opulence in the city’s heart. Spanning an expansive 57,114 square meters, the hotel promises an estimated 500 guest rooms, with expansive penthouses offering unparalleled grandeur. The hotel also boasts an extensive ballroom, conference facilities, a day spa, an indoor pool, and gastronomic experiences.
Setia President & CEO, Datuk Choong Kai Wai affirmed, “Sapphire by the Gardens and the Shangri-La marks our fifth significant development within Melbourne. We are thrilled to see this iconic development come to life and stimulate thousands of local jobs during and after construction.”
308 Exhibition Street aligns with Melbourne’s tourism resurgence and rapid population growth, heralding a new era in luxurious living and world-class hospitality.
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