New plans for Hobart’s Macquarie Point development being touted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) are likely to have a significant influence on the final outcome for the precinct.

The Tasmanian Government directed the Macquarie Point Development Corporation (MPDC) to engage with MONA to prepare a new masterplan for the site in November last year, different to one designed by John Wardle Architects, 1+2 Architecture, Leigh Woolley Architecture & Urban Design, Inspiring Place, Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Village Well and Navire.

It appears Fender Katsalidis and Rush Wright Associates are at the helm of the new design for the nine-hectare redevelopment site on the River Derwent waterfront in Hobart, Fender Katsalidis rekindling its relationship with MONA which began as the designer of its Museum, now operating out of the harbourside cliffs at Berriedale.

MONA’s new plans would see the industrial site transformed into a cultural precinct celebrating Tasmania's Aboriginal history. It includes an art park, major fire and light installation, and a Tasmanian Aboriginal history centre.

The design was created in consultation with Tasmanian Aboriginal writer Greg Lehman, but didn’t include consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, much to the dismay of the its chief executive, Heather Sculthorpe.

It was also released in conjunction with plans to open a timber exports facility at the point’s terminal, which troubled one Greens MP who thought a cultural precinct and shipping yard wouldn’t work side by side.

The state government said that the $2 billion project could take three decades to complete and that it might eventually look different to what Fender Katsalidis and Rush Wright have proposed.

MONA creative director Leigh Carmichael told the ABC that the project needed to be based on consensus and that the plan was developed to engage the community and investment.

"The main thing is that we get this right, I don't see that there is any need to rush, the site isn't going anywhere," he said.

"It is likely to be a $2 billion project or thereabouts. It really depends what ideas come to fruition.

"The first thing is you get general consensus for the idea and then you do the work on the planning and where the money is going to come from."

In June, British entrepreneur Sir Tim Smit expressed his desire to develop a  $50 million major complex showcasing the Antarctic on the site. 

MONA’s plan for Macquarie Park includes:

  • A reconciliation Art Park
  • Nine major fire and light installations - representing each of the first Tasmanian nations
  • Tasmanian Aboriginal history centre, living culture centre, library and education facilities
  • Light rail (three stations including options for a heritage rail station)
  • Contemporary Gallery & Art space
  • Antarctic science & research precinct
  • Six-star 500 room hotel (or three hotels)
  • Conference and exhibition centre (2500 pax)
  • Produce market (day and night, operating regularly)
  • Hobart Music Bowl (7000+ capacity)
  • Upgraded Antarctic gateway
  • Upgraded cruise terminal facilities, additional warehousing and allied commercial offices and retail
  • Residential retail marina with ferry terminals

Images: Fender Katsalidis and Rush Wright Associates