The Victorian Government is planning to turn a 56-hectare industrial area in North Melbourne into a new commercial and residential precinct over the next 30 years. The draft vision and framework for the urban renewal project in North Melbourne was recently released for community feedback, and sets out key design principles and strategic directions for the largely government-owned industrial land.

The precinct known as Arden is bound by Macaulay Road to the north, Dryburgh Street to the east and the Upfield railway line to the south and west. The proposed Metro Tunnel underground station at Arden, due to open in 2026, is set to be a catalyst for an estimated $7 billion of urban development.

The draft vision states: “Arden will be a distinctive new central city destination, creating a major employment hub based on knowledge industries to enhance Victoria’s competitive advantage internationally.”

The plan also covers land use changes, design of streets and open space, strategic directions for urban transport, and five new parks to be located in close proximity to residences in the area.

Victrack owns the land – a former railyard – where the precinct is proposed to be developed. Since the land is also situated on a flood plain, a precinct-wide approach to managing the flooding challenge in Arden and Macaulay and beyond will be one of the key strategies. The revitalisation of the Moonee Ponds Creek will honour the heritage of both the Indigenous and post-European settlements.

Prepared by the Victorian Planning Authority and the City of Melbourne, the draft vision and framework for Arden builds on the City of Melbourne’s Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan 2012. The City had earlier identified the 144-hectare Arden-Macaulay area as a prime candidate for urban renewal given its proximity to the city and the availability of under-utilised industrial land.

The Arden precinct could be home to 15,000 residents by 2051.

Image: Visualisation of the proposed Arden precinct (Victorian Planning Authority)