The City of Melbourne can get on with an ambitious transformation of the Queen Victoria Market, following approval of planning controls by the state government.
The $250 million renewal had been in limbo after the state government voiced concerns about impact on heritage and amenity, particularly around a 196-metre apartment tower on the nearby Munro site that would help pay for an extensive overhaul of the neighbouring markets.
That tower has now come down in height to 125 metres to “preserve and protect the market”, according to the state government.
“We’ve given careful consideration to get this amendment right,” Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne said.
“It’s all about striking a balance between the need for development and rejuvenation, and protecting the market’s heritage.”
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the decision meant the council was able to now progress with the biggest project it has ever undertaken.
He said a recently released independent business case revealing a poor outlook for the markets meant doing nothing was not a viable option.
“The future of the market is at risk and we must get on with this renewal to secure its future,” he said.
The updated business case prepared by SGS Economics and Planning found that the renewal would deliver a benefit-cost ratio of 5.5, which SGS principal Dr Marcus Spiller said represented “excellent community value for money, and far exceeds many other comparable government-funded projects”.
Plans for a zero-carbon precinct
Sustainability has been a key feature of the master plan, including aiming for zero carbon through energy efficiency, embedded renewables and investment in off-site renewables.
Other sustainability features include:
- Climate resilience – cooling the precinct and enhancing biodiversity by integrating green infrastructure, stormwater harvesting, re-use and water sensitive design
- Resource efficiency – through sustainable procurement and resource recovery systems and infrastructure
- Zero waste – maximising opportunities for waste reduction and recycling in design, construction and operation
- Economically sustainability – encourage opportunities for business diversity, innovation and economic development with a focus on activities which foster the commercial viability of the Queen Victoria Market
- Socially sustainability – providing enhanced community opportunities that are accessible and create local employment and acknowledge culture, heritage and identity
The precinct will be aiming for a Green Star – Communities rating.
The renewal will involve undergrounding parking and infrastructure like freezers and storage; creating 1.5 hectares of new open space where existing parking is; turning the intersection of Thierry and Queen St into a market square; and developing the Munro site, which will include residential apartments, community facilities, child care, affordable housing and car parking.
Construction jobs are expected to number 2500, with the renewed development hosting more than 60,000 ongoing jobs.