Alongside considerable residential accommodation, student housing and new office towers, community consultation started this week on proposed uses of a new 1.8 hectare space to be known as Market Square, which will be one of the city’s largest public spaces and potentially one of its largest event venues.
The project requires some street realignment and together with development of an underground car park, will have to overcome sensitivities around the fact that the area was the site of Melbourne’s first cemetery and is said to still have more than 6,000 graves.
Lendlease will build its Gurrowa Place – meaning a place of exchange and interchange to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung traditional owners – on the south side of the market. An architect’s render shows the buildings step up to a maximum 28 storeys and is described as “a next generation office” totalling 43,000m2 of workspace designed to be 6-star Green Star rated. There will also be approximately 560 residential apartments and an 1100-bed student accommodation facility, which will be all-electric and powered by renewable energy.
Queen Vic, as she is known locally, attracts almost 10 million local and international visitors annually and is popular for events with its fresh food sheds able to stage events for up to 10,000 people cocktail or 3,000 in banquet. Smaller indoor halls, such as the food court, cater for 400 cocktail or 200 in banquet, while the dairy hall can accommodate 100 in cocktail and 150 in banquet.
The market, which is home to more than 600 small businesses, will still trade when work starts on parts of the site next year. On completion in 2028, it will contribute $1 billion to the Victorian economy.