Waratah Place is open again

Chinatown’s Waratah Place has reopened to the public after major electrical works closed the historic lanewayfor two years.

CitiPower’s head of major projects Marcus Olive said the project team had worked to maintain the Chinatown district’s traditional aspects while adding features to enhance the area.

“The project team has been very careful to restore and maintain aspects such as bluestone paving and guttering, but at the same there are elements like the LED display on the façade of our building that add to the vibrant feel of Chinatown,” Mr Olive said. 

Mr Olive thanked the Chinatown business community who had been “nothing short of sensational” through the laneway’s closure.

The timing of the reopening of Waratah Place means Chinatown restaurants can use the laneway for seating diners as part of the City of Melbourne and state government outdoor dining COVID-19 recovery initiative. 

“We are pleased we were able to reopen the laneway to the public and so local businesses can use it for outdoor dining,” Mr Olive said. 

The laneway was closedto allow for an electrical zone substation to be demolished and rebuilt as part of a $250 million Melbourne CBD security of supply project which provides a backup for the city’s power supply.

The project protects against unexpected events, such as extreme weather or infrastructure failures, which impact the city’s major power outages.

Once the project is completed, it would allow power to be diverted around Melbourne’s electrical grid to ensure power outages will last less than 30 minutes. 

Mr Olive said the Waratah Place project, which was one of Citipower’s largest ever, was “complex and challenging”.

Further work will take place on the substation throughout the year.

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