Plans to transform the Queen Victoria Market precinct and add as much as half a billion dollars in new property to the area are fast gathering pace.

The city of Melbourne plans to enlist the aid of a commercial joint venture partner in the transformation of part of the Queen Victoria Market precinct into a large-scale mixed-use development.

The 6329 metre square Munro site is the largest freehold plot of land in the Melbourne CBD, with local government hoping that the transformation of the site will generate sufficient revenue for a $250 million revamp of the Queen Victoria Market itself.

City hall plans on converting the site into a mixed-use development comprised primarily of residential units accompanied by some retail and commercial space.

The redeveloped site will provide some affordable housing to aspiring residents of the area, as well as childcare facilities and a new car park, permitting the conversion of the open-air car park adjacent to the market into a new public space.

In order to expedite the transformation of the Queen Victoria Market precinct local government has amended planning regulations for the area with respect to setbacks and the height of street-front buildings, permitting the creation of more tower space.

Melbourne has high hopes for the site, with Lord mayor Robert Doyle revealing that the council exhausted all of its cash reserves for the $76 million acquisition of the city’s largest development site last year.

According to Doyle the council wanted to retain control of the project in order to prevent improper development around the Queen Victoria Market, particularly given its significance as one of Melbourne’s most enduring and vibrant tourist destinations.

The city is currently seeking expressions of interest, with formal proposals scheduled for submission in October.

The development of the Munro site in combination with another plot of government land in the pipeline is expected to create as much as half a billion dollars of new property within the environs of the Queen Victoria Market.