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Work begins on Munro development at Queen Vic Market

Work has begun on the construction on the large-scale redevelopment of a site on the corner of Queen and Thierry Streets, adjacent to the historic Queen Victoria Markets in central Melbourne.

The mixed-use development, designed by Bates Smart and Six Degrees, comprises two towers rising to 38 and 10 storeys. Other facilities in the so-called Munro development include a 120-place childcare facility, a family and children’s services centre, a community centre and kitchen, a city gallery and 56 affordable housing units, all sitting atop more than 500 car parking spots. The project is being delivered by developer PDG Corporation and builder Hamilton Marino.

A revised proposal for the site was approved by the Victorian planning minister in May 2018. The redevelopment as originally announced included a 196-metre tower. The planning minister later approved new planning controls that included a new mandatory height control of 125 metres on the site. The redesign that this precipitated involved moving the affordable housing units from the main tower to another part of the development.

Capp said the project would provide the amenity and community services necessary for a predicted increased of “24,000 new residents in this area by 2040.

“We’re delivering a new network of interconnecting laneways featuring retail stores, cafes and restaurants. The popular street art precinct in Blender Lane will remain and the new community facilities will better connect the market precinct to the city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We purchased this site from the Munro family five years ago to protect the market from inappropriate development and prevent a supermarket or large chain stores being built in direct competition to fresh food offerings of the Queen Vic Market.”

The development of the council-owned site forms part of the planned renewal of the market itself, designed by Grimshaw Architects. Originally, the redevelopment would have seen sheds A, B, C and D repaired, restored and rebuilt, with a three-level basement structure constructed underneath the western sections of sheds A to D.

However, in March 2018, Heritage Victoria refused a permit application for the redevelopment on the grounds that the proposed works would be “unacceptably detrimental” and would have a “severe impact” on the cultural heritage significance of the market.

The market was added to the National Heritage List in June 2018, after the City of Melbourne nominated it for inclusion in 2015.

In August 2018, the council established a “people’s panel” to guide the reworking of its plans for the market. The panel’s recommendations were delivered to the council’s Future Melbourne Committee on 10 December. A report further analysing the panel’s recommendations is currently being produced.

On the basis of the first report the committee also asked council planners to, “In addition to the 500 car parks in Munro, investigate an additional 500 car parks in the precinct with the current at grade car park to become an open space once transitional parking there is no longer required.”

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