Queen Victoria Market renewal to spark $1b development

Queen Victoria Market renewal to spark $1b development

19 April 2019

A mixed-use development worth nearly $1 billion can now move ahead after the Melbourne City Council unanimously passed the latest plans to rejuvenate the popular but ageing Queen Victoria Market on the northern edge of the CBD, reports the AFR.

The proposal was approved after the council abandoned plans to dig beneath four of the market’s heritage sheds to create three levels of underground car parking and a service area for traders, which were previously scuppered by Heritage Victoria.

The proposal will also see the existing outdoor asphalt car park transformed into Melbourne’s biggest public square—a 1.5-hectare civic space to be called Market Square, says The Age.

The new space will be used as a venue for community festivals, farmers’ markets and other events and provide a place where people could eat.

The revitalisation plan means the state government will hand over an 11,800-square-metre parcel of surplus land near the market to the Town Hall.

In return, Melbourne Council will be allowed to sell public land at the southern end of the market on Franklin Street, providing a large part of the revenue needed for the $287 million restoration plan.

Proceeds from a sale of that surplus land are conservatively valued at $95 million.

Likely to be sold in three parcels, the land could potentially host a series of towers, as high as 165 metres.

The new development could be home to as many as 1,200 apartments, along with 700 parking bays, retail space of 8,000 square metres and 16,000 square metres for a hotel, educational use or office space.

The council has been down this path already, taking over another block next to the market, the so-called Munro site, where a $450 million apartment and hotel project is under way with private developer PDG Corporation.

Andrew McDougall from SGS Economics and Planning said the infrastructure option would generate significant benefits for Victorians.

“Our 30-year projections show the renewal designs stack up financially and provide significant economic and social benefits,” Mr McDougall said.

According to SGS Economics and Planning, every dollar spent would generate $7 dollars in overall economic benefits.