Market and State Library lead the way

By Laurence Dragomir, Urban Melbourne

October brings with it warmer (hopefully) and longer days along with an update on some key projects happening within the city.

Starting with the Queen Victoria Market where the City of Melbourne has voted to pursue a revised design proposal for the below ground operational area at the western end of Sheds A to D as part of the enabling works for the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Project.

The revised draft plans reduce the size of the footprint in favour of a deeper excavation for the below-ground facilities at the western end of Sheds A, B, C and D. This means the eastern portions of the sheds, adjacent to Queens St, don’t need to be removed – reducing the impact of the works on the heritage sheds.

The below-ground area has been designed to include two levels and a mezzanine for new delivery and loading areas, storage, cool rooms and food preparation areas, waste management facilities, showers, toilets and break out spaces.

Additionally, one level of approximately 220 customer parking spaces will be provided with the balance of customer parking to be located within the Munro site redevelopment which is expected to deliver a further 500 car parks.

Due to the reduced footprint, fewer fruit and veg traders will be disrupted meaning that the planned Market Pavilion along Queens St has been reduced to 120m long, down from the 250m that was initially proposed. The $5.6 million structure will be built on the northern end of Queen St, providing space for displaced traders once the redevelopment gets underway in earnest.

Construction on the Market Pavilion is expected to commence this month.


Elsewhere, the State Library of Victoria has secured final philanthropic funding that will allow the library’s Vision 2020 transformation to kick off in earnest.

The SLV’s Vision 2020 includes opening 40 per cent more space for public use throughout the complex which has had a long history of additions over the years.

The $88 million transformation is majority funded by the State Government to the tune of $60 million with the remainder coming from philanthropic sources – the Hansen Little Foundation’s contribution completes the library’s fundraising target of $27.7 million.

The contribution will also fund the library’s new Conversation Quarter which is set to include facilities that will enable two-way digital broadcast technology.

The Hansen Hall and Conversation Quarter are set to open in 2019.

And finally, after being announced in April 2016’s edition of CBD News, it appears the second coming of Rebecca Walk is set to be realised after clearing some planning hurdles.

New plans were conceived for the largely empty row of pods which occupy the under croft of the Flinders St Viaduct adjacent to Batman Park on the CBD’s Northbank.

Developed in parallel with Far East Consortium’s Northbank Place development on the site of the former Fish Markets, Rebecca Walk was envisioned as a catalyst and drawcard for Northbank, which activated an otherwise underutilised space.

Businessman Arthur Zurcas announced plans last year to rejuvenate the area into the city’s “newest explosive food and entertainment hot spot”.

The proposed plan would replace the existing pods with purpose-built micro-kitchens, and semi-permanent shipping containers, transforming the area into a street food hub.  Other features would include outdoor entertainment and activities, street art, an outdoor cinema and an elevated deck overlooking Batman Park.

With a permit granted on August 4, it appears to be a matter of when, not if, the rebranded Rebecca Walk will proceed but it should be up and running in time for Melbourne’s summer.

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