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Developers have asked Brisbane City Council to give them more time to begin work on a 91-storey apartment tower on Albert Street, despite earlier concerns that it would impinge on the Cross River Rail tunnel.
The planned 857-apartment and retail tower at 30 Albert Street, close to the Botanic Gardens, was approved by council in 2016, but delays have meant construction is yet to begin.
The 2016 development application, approved by Brisbane City Council, would see a skyscraper as tall as Skytower rise up over the city.
With the current permit to begin building work set to expire in June 2021, developers WCL (QLD) Albert Street Pty Ltd have asked council to give them more time by extending all the approvals needed until 2024.
The project hit problems in 2018 when a request to increase the number of basement carpark levels put the tower's foundations in the Cross River Rail tunnel envelope, which did not exist when the tower was first approved.
The difficulty continued in 2019 when the developers asked council to give them an extension on the development approval to 2023.
The state government's development assessment department wrote to the council at the time saying the tower would "present an unreasonable risk" to the underground railway.
But council approved the extension request, giving WCL until December 2023 to begin construction.
In December 2020, the developers lodged another request to extend a separate building work permit for the site, which was set to expire in June this year.
"As a consequence of the technical details associated with the interface between the approved basement and the Cross River Rail tunnel, it has slowed down the ability for the applicant to commence construction," a letter submitted to council on December 3 says.
The letter, by Mewing Planning Consultants on behalf of WCL, notes the developers submitted a building work application to the State Assessment and Referral Agency to resolve the conflict between the Cross River Rail and the tower's foundations.
"It is understood that a structural solution can be developed to manage any potential impact on the tunnel, and this will be suitably resolved through the building work application process," the letter says.
A Department of State Development spokesperson said an application seeking approval for building works associated with the proposed tower's basement was lodged with the State Assessment and Referral Agency in October 2019.
"SARA is a referral agency for the application and is working together with the applicant, the Cross River Rail Development Authority and the Department of Transport and Main Roads to agree on an appropriate and safe interface with the adjoining Cross River Rail tunnel," the spokesperson said.
A Cross River Rail Development Authority spokesman said the "volumetric land required to construct Cross River Rail, including that of 30 Albert Street, has been acquired in line with the Acquisition of Land Act 1967".
"The proponents seeking to develop 30 Albert Street will need to take the Cross River Rail project into account with any proposal it puts forward for the site," he said.
Council has not yet responded to the application. WCL was contacted for comment.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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