|NNNN BAD DEVELOPERS NNNN|
The Melbourne Times December 20, 2006 p5.
Feral cat eats cheese on controversial 'grater' site, says residents by Marika Dobbin
A community campaign started four years ago to oppose plans for a Fitzroy apartment tower - dubbed the "cheese grater" - has kicked back into overdrive with more than 550 local people lodging objections against the latest design for the site.
Campaign organiser and University of Melbourne professor Dr Jen Davoren enlisted a squad of residents, which has door-knocked households and handed out almost 1000 anti-tower flyers since November.
Developers PDG Corporation and Schiavello Group last week appealed to the Victorian Civil and Admistrative Tribunal (VCAT) after Yarra Council failed to assess the latest design within the 60-day time limit. No date has been set for the hearing.
VCAT approved plans on appeal for more than 150 apartments in 2003, but the developers scrapped the plans because they failed to sell.
The developers estimate the new apartment complex will cost $30 million to build, compared to $70 million for the old design.
The new plan includes 136 apartments in three, six-storey buildings, on the site bound by Napier, Kerr, Young and Argyle streets.
The controversial "cheese grater" element has been dumped in the redesign and the towers are being marketed as "Jazz Cat" by the developers.
"This mangy stray is arguably far uglier than the cheese grater, with discordant colours and a feral design" states the community campaign website.
Ms Davoren said she was optimistic VCAT would refuse the latest permit application, despite its history.
"The cheese grater was architecturally out there but this one is architecturally drab and just butt ugly," she said.
"There's this bendy piece of metal sculpture on the top that is supposed to be a cat on a hot tin roof.
"It's a cheap version because they weren't going to make any money off it".
However, two Yarra Councillors, Jackie Fristacky and Paul D'Agostino, told TMT that they thought the new design was better, but still needed to be assessed.
TMT believes the developers intend to return to the original design if VCAT does not approve the plans.
The developers could not be reached before TMT went to press.
The cheesegrater - Urban Jazz or Urban Junk or Urban Joke?