Federation Square’s board, which has thrown its full support behind plans for a controversial Apple Store, may still formally oppose Heritage Victoria’s decision.
Apple would need to seek a permit from Heritage Victoria to demolish the existing Yarra building, which houses the Koorie Heritage Trust, to make way for its new store.
In statements following the announcement of the Apple store at Federation Square, the state government proclaimed the flagship store would bring in an additional two million visitors to central Melbourne each year, based on figures provided by the tech-giant.
Documents have now come to light revealing the rushed process behind the approval of the planning amendment for the store.
The push, made by Tourism Minister John Eren, was kept from the public and local council and the efforts to comply with Apple’s demands.
In a letter sent to the Planning Minister Richard in December last year, Eren said “special powers” should be used to fast track the planning amendment as the project was of “state significance” because of the “high visitation numbers that are likely to be generated”.
Council was not informed or consulted on the plans, with the documents showing that this was because the project was “commercial-in-confidence”.