Queen Victoria Market revamp gets green light

Queen Victoria Market revamp gets green light
Brendan Rees

The state government has approved a $1.7 billion plan that will revamp the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) with three new high-rise towers and a public square.

Under the proposal, developer Lendlease has been given the go-ahead to build a 49-level student accommodation tower, a 46-level residential apartment block and a 28-level office building at the market’s southern end.

The plan also includes a 1.8-hectare public park which will be known as Market Square, and the restoration of the existing heritage Franklin St Stores into a new retail village to complement the QVM offering.

The precinct, to be named Gurrowa Place, is part of the largest urban renewal project to be undertaken by the City of Melbourne, which is partnering with Lendlease.

The 3.2-hectare southern site is bordered by Franklin, Queen and Peel streets, and will be revitalised with new commercial, residential, retail, and public open space.

Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny announced the approval of a development plan and early works permit on March 27, which is set to create thousands of jobs and draw in more residents, workers, and visitors to the area.

The towers include 560 build-to-rent apartments, 80 affordable homes, 1100 student residences to be managed by Scape, and a 220-space underground carpark.

Early works will allow excavation to begin to create carparks on the basement of the project’s towers, and permit applications for the rest of the building will be assessed in relation to the project’s development plan.

Ms Kilkenny said the project would pave the way for a revamp of the historic market with housing being a key feature with 15 per cent dedicated to affordable housing.

She said other highlights of the plans included open spaces, cycling paths, retail stores along the restored Franklin St Stores, and a community and cultural space fronting Queen St.

“Building more quality homes around places like the iconic Queen Victoria Market means more Victorians can benefit from our thriving, liveable and vibrant capital city, with thousands of jobs nearby,” Ms Kilkenny said.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the planning approval meant they were “one step closer to starting work to enhance the traditional market experience Melburnians and visitors know and love”.

“Gurrowa Place will become home to thousands of new residents, attract more market customers and boost business for traders – while unlocking one of the largest open spaces in the CBD,” she said.


This $1.7 billion vote of confidence from Lendlease is Council’s most significant partnership with the private sector – which will create more than 4000 jobs and secure the market’s future.


Lendlease global chief officer Tony Lombardo said the project represented an “enormous opportunity” to revitalise one of Melbourne’s most-loved precincts with new public space, retail, office and housing.

“With construction expected to commence in the coming months, we’ve commenced discussions with capital partners interested in working alongside Lendlease and our stakeholders to bring the project to life on behalf of Melburnians,” he said.

“Achieving the twin milestones of contract close and development plan approval underscores the significant momentum right across our Australian business, Lendlease’s traditional growth engine, as we replenish our local pipeline of development projects and repatriate capital from offshore.”

In a statement, the state government said QVM was an “iconic Melbourne landmark and stringent heritage controls will be upheld to preserve its unique character”.

The project is expected to be completed by 2028.

“Gurrowa” means a place of exchange and interchange to the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which the Queen Victoria Market resides.


Caption: An artist’s impression of the 1.7b project at QVM.

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