The first stage of major restoration works on the historic Kinnears Ropeworks site in the heart of Footscray has been completed that is transforming the disused former industrial site into a new residential, retail and community landmark for the famous inner-west suburb.

Kinnears closed its doors in 2002, after 100 years making rope, string and other products at the large site on Ballarat Road. Several historic buildings will be retained and restored.

Developer R&F Property Australia has announced the completion of the first building to be restored – a two-storey, 1,800-sqaure metre brick building on Ballarat Road that was once a rope dispensary and the dining hall for Kinnears workers.

R&F Property Australia state planning manager Brad Evans says the $5.6 million restoration had been a key priority for the project and was completed well in advance of the first new apartment tower.

“We are very excited to see this important historic building brought back to life and are committed to bringing forward the restoration of two more large buildings on the site, together with connecting laneways,” says Evans.

“These buildings are very much part of the early story of Footscray and our conservation work will ensure they remain a lasting legacy for the local community,” he said.

The design and management of the site’s restoration work is being undertaken by heritage architecture group Lovell Chen.

“We have been involved in the Kinnears Ropeworks site for many years and are delighted to see the first heritage building completed and ready for the next chapter in its life at this significant Melbourne location,” says Lovell Chen director and founding principal Peter Lovell.

 “We look forward to continuing to secure and reveal the important built evidence of Footscray’s significant manufacturing past with further conservation and adaption of the other retained heritage-listed structures on the site.”

Construction of the first stage of apartments at Live City is progressing well with a 15-level building at the western end of the site expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

When complete, Live City will be Footscray’s newest precinct, embracing the past and creating a new vibrant future with luxury apartment living set amid heritage laneways, cafes, convenience shopping and a range of attractive open spaces.

Image: Live City plan / Supplied