Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle today announced that the City of Melbourne will be carrying out a comprehensive renewal program for Queen Victoria Market – an overhaul that will cost up to $250 million.
Affectionately dubbed the ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the 135-year-old Market will also seek a UNESCO world heritage listing as part of the redevelopment.
The project, which will see an expansion of the market precinct, will be the largest investment the city has ever undertaken.
However, the Lord Mayor believes that preserving and renewing the market is vital in ensuring that it remains a part of the city.
“We want to preserve and celebrate the market’s iconic features while retaining affordability and ensuring the market is competitive in a changing retail environment,” says Doyle.
As part of the precinct’s extension, seven hectares of Crown land located at the southern end of the market will be transferred to the City of Melbourne, enabling the council to create freehold land and provide opportunities for commercial development.
The funds secured through the redevelopment of this land will be reinvested in the market.
The land changes will remove two roundabouts, and improve pedestrian and traffic connections around the market. The overhaul may include the creation of parkland and other open public spaces.
“Providing this land to the City of Melbourne will enable the QVM to expand its footprint and cater for the growth in patronage, which is expected to reach 17 million annual visitors by 2031,” says Premier Napthine.
Over the next 20 years, the number of people living within 800 metres of Queen Victoria Market is expected to almost double, from 67,000 to 128,000.
The 135-year-old Queen Victoria Market. Image source: Herald Sun
The renewal of the Queen Victoria Market will be funded through a combination of revenue sources and carefully managed through a best-practice governance model.
Depending on the scope of the projects undertaken, it is estimated that the renewal could generate 9,000 new jobs at the market, 12,000 jobs in the surrounding precinct and thousands of construction industry jobs.
Doyle adds that he is aware the process of applying for world heritage listing would be long and arduous, but he felt it was necessary to preserve one of Melbourne’s “jewels”. If approved, the Queen Victoria Market will join the city’s only world heritage listed building, the iconic Royal Exhibition Building.
The council will be consulting with community members and other stakeholders over the following months, with plans for the market and surrounding precinct to be developed over the next two years.
Melburnians are able to participate in the discussions about the future of the market at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/queenvictoriamarket.