The redevelopment of Punt Road Oval, home of the Richmond Football Club for over 135 years, has been approved by the City of Melbourne.

This approval paves the way for the $65 million revamp project, which will include, among others, expansion and reorientation of the existing oval; demolition of existing buildings within the oval complex, including the Jack Dyer Stand; removal of the existing hardstand (carpark) area; and construction of a new building complex incorporating a new grandstand. The redevelopment will see the transformation of the Punt Road Oval from a mere training ground to a sporting precinct for the community.

Designed by COX Architecture, the redevelopment of the venue is expected to deliver multiple benefits to both the Richmond Football Club and the broader community. Key highlights of the project include state-of-the-art facilities for the women’s program and enhanced facilities for the men’s program; capacity for up to 8,000 spectators from the current 4,000; establishment of the William Cooper Centre to house the Korin Gamadji Institute, the Bachar Houli Foundation, and the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School; and a new underground car parking facility that removes vehicles from the Yarra Park pedestrian areas and reinstates landscaping on a public forecourt above.

The Punt Road Oval will be resized to the same dimensions as the MCG. While the Jack Dyer Stand will be demolished, the new grandstand will retain the name, with some of the original brickwork from the old stand to be reinstated in the new design.

Punt Road Oval entry

“Our shared vision is to build on the legacy of the past 135 years to ensure the continued success of the Richmond Football Club at Punt Road Oval. The design intent for the new Jack Dyer Stand is to deliver a contemporary building that expresses the same quality of craftsmanship and detail that is evident in the existing grandstand,” COX Architecture said in a statement.

“Underpinning the redevelopment is the drive to keep the Richmond Football Club in Richmond. Not only supporting the long-term aspirations of the club, this significant project ensures the precinct remains part of a vibrant and attractive parkland for the local community to enjoy,” the studio added.

Heritage groups had objected to the proposed demolition of the historic Jack Dyer Stand, which was built in 1915. However, Richmond Football Club was not in favour of a refurbishment, maintaining that demolition was the only option given the stand’s limited function. The club had also threatened to leave Punt Road Oval, their home ground, if approval was not granted for the demolition and redevelopment.

Following the approval by the Council, the redevelopment proposal will now progress to the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning for Planning Minister Richard Wynne’s consideration.

Images: COX Architecture