Back to the noughties: Melbourne's arts precinct set to get a major makeover

Back to the noughties: Melbourne's arts precinct set to get a major makeover
Back to the noughties: Melbourne's arts precinct set to get a major makeover

Back in the earliy 2000s, the Bracks/Brumby Government announced a masterplan for the Southbank arts precinct would be drawn up with one of the key components pedestrianising Sturt Street and building a ramp from St Kilda Road down to Sturt Street to Southbank Boulevard.

Today, the Premier and Arts Minister announced the concept is not dead, committing $208 million to planning and kicking off phase 1 of a project that would see a new contemporary art gallery added to the building asset list for the National Gallery of Victoria.

Opposite Aunty's Melbourne broadcast centre, on the triangular block bounded by Sturt Street, Southbank Boulevard and Kavanagh Street, the former Carlton & United Breweries headquarters will make way for the new NGVC - National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary.

Likewise, 1 City Road, which sits as a vacant site on the intersection of City Road and Sturt Street, will also become the home of a new hub for the precinct. 

The hub will house the Australia Performing Arts Gallery, an expanded Australian Music Vault, administrative, education and research facilities, and a new centre for small-to-medium and independent arts organisations.

The Victorian Government says 18,000 square metres of new and expanded open space will adorn the precinct with an elevated park at the Southbank Boulevard end allowing precinct visitors to meander all the way from Princes Bridge down through the precinct to a new linear park on Southbank Boulevard.

The City of Melbourne is just about to ramp up phased construction of the new linear park along Southbank Boulevard from Sturt Street to City Road which will see one carriageway closed and converted to new green space.

According to reports across other outlets, the $208 million announced today will be used to buy the former CUB headquarters and to begin design and planning work.

Tony Ellwood, speaking to the Herald Sun, hinted at an international design competition for the new NGV Contemporary.

“It needs to be one of the symbols of the city, it needs to be internationally respected, it needs to be projecting the future of architecture. What we need to do is go with an international search and see what the best designers in the world come back with,” Ellwood told the HUN.

The Victorian Government expects 10,000 jobs to be generated during the construction period with 260 ongoing jobs once construction is complete.

The NGV currently receives approximately three million visitors a year and with the expansion outlined today, the Victorian Government expects that number to double.  Creative industries support 240,000 jobs and contribute $22 billion to the state's economy.

Back to the noughties: Melbourne's arts precinct set to get a major makeover
Render of the pedestrian precinct and ramp down Sturt Street

Images: NGV

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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