New Munro library and community hub works begin
Work has officially begun on the much-anticipated Munro library and community hub project, which is set to be the biggest of its kind in the City of Melbourne.
Located on the doorstep of the Queen Victoria Market, the three-storey facility will house a range of amenities including a family services centre, a creative space, and a communal study and meeting spaces.
Newly released designs show a rooftop terrace complete with lush lawn areas, native plantings, and panoramic views of the iconic market.
The hub, which will open later this year, will consist of a children’s library, maternal health consulting rooms, a parent room, playgroup room and secure outdoor play area, as well as podcast and audio recording studios.
A Creative Makers’ Space will also feature 3D printers, laser cutters, paint booths and sewing machines for visitors to use.
The 3100sqm hub is being delivered by the City of Melbourne and will occupy a space within the $500 million Munro development.
The council is providing $3 million as part of its draft Budget 2023–24 to complete the project, which will be built by Australian construction firm Buildcorp.
The designs have incorporated community and stakeholder engagement, with the council also having worked closely with leading Melbourne architecture firm Six Degrees Architects, landscape architects Bush Projects, and Traditional Owners and Elders to ensure the space was “accessible, inclusive, and welcoming for all”.
“We’re proud to mark another milestone for the momentous Munro development, as construction and fit out works begin on the spectacular new library and community hub,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said following a tour of the site on May 19 to mark the start of construction.
The new Munro site will create more jobs and deliver an estimated $70 million of economic and community benefit to the growing city north precinct.
The new library and hub are part of the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal program with the Munro development already home to a 500-space underground car park, 48 affordable housing dwellings, build-to-rent residential apartments and a boutique hotel, and soon-to-be retail and hospitality outlets.
Meanwhile, a revamp of QVM’s food hall, which was due to open July last year, is scheduled for completion in June, with tenancy fit outs having begun early this year. Delays to the project have been attributed to labour shortages and supply chain issues, bad weather, challenges in coordinating work with authorities including CitiPower and additional, unforeseen work.
“The precinct renewal program is not immune to the challenges currently facing the construction industry,” Cr Capp said, adding rising building costs, labour shortages and supply chain issues had impacted delivery timeframes for some works, including the food hall.
But once complete, she said the food hall would be a “contemporary indoor dining destination in the Queen Victoria Market precinct – attracting more visitors and boosting business for traders”.
The new space will feature a new roof and flooring, a modern fit-out with new services and amenities, more greenery and additional space to dine.
According to the council’s quarterly report of the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Program, $122 million has so far been spent on the project’s overall $267 million allocation.
The final stage of the heritage shed restoration project at Sheds H and I is expected to be completed mid this year, the report, published in March, noted. However, traders will remain in their temporary locations for an estimated three-year period.
A developer has yet to be announced to transform QVM’s $1 billion-plus Southern Site, (bounded by Franklin, Queen, and Peel streets) after the council confirmed in January that a divestment process was under way.
Friends of QVM president Mary-Lou Howie said it was time “to abandon the unnecessary and expensive renewal program”.
“The diminished market does not require this gold-plated trader infrastructure which will inevitably lead to higher overheads for traders that will be passed on as price increases to customers,” she said. •