Three new towers are set to rise up on a key site within Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market precinct as part of plans which have been unveiled for the site’s transformation.

And the site will include a new park that will be one of the largest public spaces in the Melbourne CBD.

On Wednesday, the City of Melbourne and Lendlease announced a $1.7 billion redevelopment of the 3.2-hectare southern site of the Queen Victoria Market precinct.

The site will be known as Gurrowa Place. The word ‘Gurrowa’ refers to a place of exchange and interchange in the language of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People – the traditional custodians of the land on which the market resides.

Subject to planning and heritage approvals, the new site will include three new tower complexes.

These include:

  • A 28-storey office tower that will add about 43,000sqm of new workplace.
  • A 560-unit apartment complex that will include build-to-rent residential apartments and affordable homes which are expected to comprise around 15 percent of the dwellings.
  • A student accommodation tower that will include 1,100 beds and will be developed by student living accommodation provider Scape.

In addition, Lendlease will develop a number of components which will be owned and retained by the City of Melbourne.

These include:

  • Conversion of the market’s current open-air carpark into a 8-hectare public park which will be known as Market Square.
  • A new 220-space basement car park for visitors and traders underneath the southern site. This will sit between towers 1 and 2 and will provide 220 spaces for market customers increasing to 300 spaces on weekends. This will be in addition to 500 existing spaces which are open in the Munro development which is located adjacent to the Market on the corner or Queen and Therry Streets.
  • A civic pavilion, known as the Queen’s Corner Building, that is envisaged to become a cornerstone of the precinct.
  • Restoration of the existing heritage Franklin Street Stores into a new retail village that will add to the city’s hospitality culture and complement the Queen Victoria Market’s offering.

Opened in 1878, the Queen Victoria Market Is a major landmark within the Melbourne CBD and is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to the City of Melbourne, the new development will help to generate more than $1 billion in economic activity and will create more than 4,000 jobs.

It will also enhance the traditional market experience with iconic laneways and arcades to explore, a uniquely Melbourne retail offering, and new spaces to bring people together.

Designs for the new precinct are being worked on in collaboration with the Wurundjeri Elders and will draw on the site’s history before the town of Melbourne was established.

This will include reintroduction of native plants that once existed on the site.

Meanwhile, sustainability features of the project will involve:

  • Targeting ratings of 6 Star Green Star Buildings v1 Rev B rating for the commercial workspace and 5 Star Green Star Buildings v1 Rev B ratings for the two residential buildings.
  • Buildings which are carbon neutral in operation by virtue of being all-electric and being powered by renewable energy.
  • Prioritisation of carbon reductions in materials, operations and construction
  • Creation of urban habitats which support biodiversity and on-site greenery.

Subject to planning approval, construction of the precinct is expected to commence early next year and finish in 2028. Early project stages will focus on delivery of the car park, Market Square and the Queen’s Corner Building.

The project is being delivered following an agreement between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne in 2014.

Under that agreement, the site was transferred to the Council with the intention of it being sold and proceeds being used for reinvestment in the market’s renewal.

However, plans to redevelop the market have long been subject to opposition.

One particularly vocal group is Friend of the Queen Victoria market, an organisation which consists of customers and traders of the market as well as local residents and some members of the wider community.

Whilst the group did not respond to Sourceable requests for comment, its president Mary-Lou Howie told the ABC that the planned redevelopment would serve to diminish the market and the site (refer article).

Howie said the development would impact current traders at the market who store their goods on Franklin Street and have been told to leave within six months.

The group has also previously raised concerns about the abolition of the open-air carpark, which it said was convenient for many customers.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp welcomed the release of the new designs, which she says will help to attract more customers and boost business for traders.

“Our landmark divestment of the Southern Precinct will transform our city’s north with a vibrant new precinct bursting with uniquely Melbourne experiences – creating an enduring legacy for the Queen Victoria Market for generations to come,” Capp said.

“Gurrowa Place will enrich the traditional market offerings Melburnians and visitors know and love – attracting thousands of new residents, workers and visitors and boosting business for traders.

“This globally-iconic precinct will be a place to celebrate – with spaces for events, world-class retail and new laneways and arcades to complement the beloved market experience.

“Traders will benefit from more customers and activity, with every dollar of this sale reinvested into the preservation and renewal of the precinct.

“We’re proud to partner with Lendlease to deliver on our commitment to secure the market’s future and maintain a focus on parking for traders and customers.

“Melbourne is the fastest-growing capital city in the country – and this development is a vote of confidence in our future. Lendlease could invest anywhere in the world, but it’s choosing Melbourne.”

Tom Mackellar, Managing Director, Development at Lendlease, said the company is excited to be part of a transformative project of this nature.

“Delivering this project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be part of one of Melbourne’s most iconic and beloved landmarks that has been serving the people of Melbourne for the past 140 years,” Mackellar said.

“The creation of Gurrowa Place begins the next chapter in the evolution of Queen Victoria Market. It will celebrate the rich history of the place, while introducing new spaces for the community and a vibrant precinct that welcomes locals and visitors.

“Lendlease looks forward to working alongside the City of Melbourne, Scape and all project partners, and the community to deliver a reimagined precinct that preserves the heart and soul of this Melbourne landmark while ensuring it continues to thrive.”


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