Okay, so it’s been a while, apologies.
Having had a while to think this over, I think that the scheme is too big and probably does have too many shops. It seems that there is not enough public transport or car parking available to deal with the extra people, it is already pretty chaotic down there. I think that the State Government really should have stumped up the cash for the refurbishment of the Palais rather than make Citta pay for it, because in doing so the Government merely assured that the developer would have to increase the number of paying tenants on the site to cover the extra costs. It also gives the developer a perfect excuse to add more venues for tenants even if they are not necessarily needed. I have no particular evidence of this but it doesn’t seem unlikely.
I think ARM’s scheme is good though. They’ve proved themselves to be very capable with large scale stuff in the last few years, even if the smaller stuff is looking like they don’t have much time invested in to them (I think the best example of this is to be found comparing the Storey Hall Annex to the RMIT Prospective Student centre a few doors apart on Swanston Street, but years apart in age and miles apart in design quality). Also, I think the fact that the development is not just another shops, offices and apartments job is great, they’ve actually included other functions into the site, ‘cos there is actually more to life then shopping, sleeping and going to work.