Melbourne: Facelift for old dame

After an extensive revamp, world heritage listing will be sought for the Queen Victoria Market's historical buildings.
After an extensive revamp, world heritage listing will be sought for the Queen Victoria Market's historical buildings.

Melbourne's iconic Queen Victoria Market will undergo a A$250 million ($286 million) upgrade to help secure its future and make the site the community hub of the city's north.

But the heritage of the 135-year-old market will be protected and once the redevelopment is complete, world heritage listing will be sought for its historical buildings.

The Victorian Government is giving the City of Melbourne land next to the market for it to partly develop and sell, with funds to be reinvested in the market.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says the scope of the works will be determined by extensive community consultation, however, proposed upgrades could include new open public spaces, event spaces, underground car parking and pedestrian access.

He also says no plans have been made for what commercial developments could be built on the site.

Doyle says the traders have told him investment was needed or the market would die.

He says the cost of the project could reach $250 million depending on the scope of the works.

"It's a very big vision," he says.

"Since Federation Square there hasn't been a civic or a community project like this. And just as Federation Square became - at that end of the city - one of the great meeting points for people, I see the Queen Victoria Market, in its complete iteration, being like the Federation Square of the north of the city."

The works are expected to take about a decade, during which time the market will continue to operate.

The renewal is tipped to create 9000 new jobs at the market. About 6000 bodies are still interred in the ground beneath the existing bitumen car park, in what was Melbourne's first cemetery.

Doyle says they are not likely to exhume the bodies, but they will be "respectfully commemorated".

- AAP


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