Melbourne’s $600m twin towers at 308 Exhibition Street completed

by Sophie Berrill
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308 Exhibition Street

Global construction company Multiplex has achieved practical completion at 308 Exhibition Street in Melbourne’s CBD, a $600-million residential and hotel project. 

308 Exhibition Street encompasses two separate high-rise towers comprising luxury apartments and the future home of Melbourne’s 5-star Shangri-La hotel, with a golden sky bridge connecting the two. S P Setia developed the project, which was designed by Fender Katsalidis in collaboration with Cox Architects.

Inside the towers 

The residential tower named ‘Sapphire by the Gardens’ features a distinctive façade and houses 325 luxury apartments, including two high-end penthouse apartments and numerous custom-designed apartments. This tower houses exclusive resident facilities across two floors with a heated swimming pool, gymnasium, Sky Lounge, a cinema, karaoke room, chef’s kitchen and a lounge with a fireplace.

A sky bridge on level 46 connects Sapphire by the Gardens to a hotel tower of over 60 levels. Internally, the sky bridge hosts amenities and a Sky Lounge for visitors and residents, and features a unique transparent ‘oculus’ glass floor with views of the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens and Port Phillip Bay.

A mixed-use podium stands beneath the two towers with spaces for resident recreational facilities, future hotel functions and above-ground car parking.

Swimming pool

Sapphire by the Gardens houses exclusive resident facilities across two floors, including a heated swimming pool.

Melbourne’s most expensive apartment

A ‘super-penthouse’ inside Sapphire by the Gardens was the highest recorded apartment sale price in the city when it sold for $39 million to a businessman named Adrian Portelli in May. During construction, Multiplex coordinated the installation of a $3 million car in the living room.

“We are thrilled to deliver this world-class precinct, and it is testament to the collaboration and determination of our team and subcontractors. Constructing two towers simultaneously takes exceptional planning and management, especially when facing construction and engineering complexities like the iconic sky bridge, 46 storeys in the air,” says Multiplex regional managing director Ross Snowball.

“This iconic development breathes new life into the CBD and it’s set to become Melbourne’s next landmark.”

Luxury apartment

The luxury complex is set to “breathe new life” into Melbourne CBD, according to Multiplex.

Innovation at the heart of complex new Melbourne skyscrapers

Construction of the unique sky bridge required innovative methodologies, with Multiplex creating a temporary protection deck beneath it to enable safe working access. This deck cantilevered out from the building and sat between two large trusses. The successful delivery of the sky bridge saw the project win the Australian Steel Institute 2022 National Award for Engineering Projects.

In recent years Mulitplex has completed similarly complex residential developments, including the ‘wave-like’ Premier Tower and the super high-rise 100-storey Australia 108. Construction of 308 Exhibition Street spanned a four and a half years, generating over 1000 jobs, with more than 500 workers on site during peak periods.

“The completion of 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,” says S P Setia president and CEO Datuk Choong Kai Wai.

308 Exhibition Street

The completion of Sapphire by the Gardens and the Shangri-La marks S P Setia’s fifth significant development within Melbourne.

Photography by Glenn Hester Photography.

STH BNK by Beulah, another twin tower project by Cox Architecture, is set to become Australia’s tallest building.

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