The Victorian Coalition government has issued a call for Expressions of Interest to develop Melbourne’s Federation Square East, in what it has referred to as the opportunity to help build a “once in a lifetime location.”
Premier Denis Napthine called the project a "unique opportunity a develop a fantastic precinct in the heart of the world's most liveable city," pointing out the unique locational advantages enjoyed by the area.
The CBD and Yarra River lie at the precinct's doorstep, while it is also close to some of the most popular facilities and tourist destinations in the city, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Park, the Botanical Gardens, Federation Square and the Arts Centre.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan touted the potential for the precinct to become a "new jewel in Melbourne's crown" given its prime location.
"The Federation Square East project can connect central Melbourne with its cultural, sporting, entertainment precincts and parklands," said Ryan. "The possibilities for this site are limited only by the imagination."
Through the Expressions of Interest, the government hopes to find a proposal that will transform the precinct into a mixed-use development which hosts "great design and exciting active, spaces," while also complementing Melbourne's other assets.
Federation Square itself embodies the immense potential of urban redevelopment projects in Australian cities. The development, which was launched in 1997, saw the creation a pair of landmark public spaces in the Melbourne CBD just adjacent to the city's busiest railway station.
It features some of the the city's most striking and distinctive architecture, including a U-shaped deconstructivist building complex, a public "atrium" consisting of an exposed metal structure with glazed walls and roofing, and a passive cooling system in the form of a concrete "labyrinth" covering 1600 square metres, comprised of 1.2 kilometres of honeycombed walls.
The Victorian government hopes the development of Federation Square East will help complement Federation Square itself, while adding another iconic landmark to Melbourne's downtown area.
The project will also serve to link the river and the sporting precinct to the CBD and will help invigorate the rail corridor and contribute to Melbourne's status as the world's most liveable city.
The EOI for Federation Square East will be formally released on September 15, with the Victorian government looking for "insightful" concepts from around the world that will cnhance Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and the north bank of the river.