Melbourne development activity model.

The future of Melbourne’s CBD can now be viewed online with a 3D model, which, according to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, is an Australian council first.

The model presents a visual representation of buildings currently built, approved, under construction and under application, with the ability to turn on and off different stages.

“It’s like Google Earth, except some of the buildings don’t exist yet,” Mr Doyle said.

“For the first time, we can see the level of building activity in Melbourne’s CBD in context.”

Mr Doyle said the data behind the model, from the City of Melbourne’s Development Activity Monitor, showed there has been a huge uptick in office construction in the CBD.

“There was 90,000 square metres of floor office space completed from 1 January to 1 May 2017, compared with just 6000 sq m for the entirety of 2016,” he said.

“The future continues to be positive as we also have 254,000 sq m of floor office space under construction, 704,000 sq m with town planning approval, and town planning applications have been lodged for a further 209,000 sq m of office space.”

He said in the long term there needed to be more office development, however, as residential development threatened to overtake commercial. The same issue has hit Sydney, with the City of Sydney proposing measures to incentivise commercial construction.

Regarding Melbourne residential, there were 5300 new dwellings completed 1 January to 1 May 2016, 36,600 dwellings received approval, and applications were lodged for 18,300 dwellings.

Student accommodation was driving the growth, Mr Doyle said.

“The interactive model shows there has been a surge in student accommodation over the past 12 months to May 2017, with 4100 student beds currently under construction and a further 2400 approved,” he said.

“This compares with the 12 months to May 2016 when there were just 791 student beds under construction.”

He also said families were driving growth, with construction of three-bedroom apartments at their highest levels in five years.

However the data shows that only six per cent of apartments being built are three-bedroom. Meanwhile, 52 per cent of apartments are two-bedroom and 41 per cent one-bedroom.

Data in the model will be updated monthly.

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