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    Iconic Federation Square site in Melbourne opens to private sector development

    Madeline Prince

    Submissions are now being requested by the Victorian Coalition Government for the development of the Federation Square East site after scrapping LAB architecture's 2010 multi purpose design and opening it up to the private sector.

    The Victorian government is seeking proposals from industry to deliver a 'viable landmark development' and a 'value for money' outcome for Victoria.

    After the announcement of the planned development of the site by the Brumby government in 2010, LAB architecture studio designed a multi purpose design for the area featuring an urban park, multi purpose exhibition, office and hotel.

    Senior architect with Lab Architecture, Tim Fowler, told Fairfax that he fears the new private sector model will result in less public space.

    ''I struggle to see how it (the new private-sector model) could produce an outcome that offers the level of civic amenity that the original model proposed,'' he said.

    The original cost to the coalition government was estimated at a total of $680 million in a three stage process which would see the development of a total of 3.3 hectares of land of which 2.3 hectares is rail yards and one hectare is currently used for car parking..

    The search is open to international ideas minister for Major Projects David Hodgett said the plan is to transform a 'black hole' into a mixed use precinct with a focus on civic functionality and improved connections with its surrounding areas.

    “The Coalition Government is looking to harness the innovation and creativity of the private sector for proposals to develop this important site,” Hodgett said.

    Grocon and Evolve development have already expressed interest in the site with Ron Walker and Ashley Williams from Evolve telling Fairfax that they would probably develop the precinct as a mix use area with a combination of offices and apartments.

    Hodgett compared the project to the Flinders Street Station Design Competition and said the aim is to find "new ways to revitalise the north bank of the Yarra and better integrate the CBD with both the river and our cultural, sporting and entertainment precincts".

    “The Coalition Government acknowledges that there are challenges to developing this site in terms of cost and construction. We believe that industry is best placed to come up with innovative, value for money solutions," Hodgett said.

    “The aim is to find out what is possible and how much interest there is in developing the site. We do not have a predetermined outcome in mind.

    “The responses provided will determine if there is sufficient appetite from the market and whether any project is viable enough to proceed further,” he added. 

    Submissions close on Thursday 18 July 2013

     

     

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