Lord Mayor Robert Doyle believes it is a critical time for the city of Melbourne to plan for growth, as Australia’s fastest growing city the proposed development by PDG Corporation would deliver a $89.7 million public benefit to the City North precinct.
“That is why this development comprising 56 affordable housing units, a 120-place childcare facility, a maternal, child health and family services centre, a community centre and kitchen, artist spaces and city room gallery, market customer car parking, a hotel, residential apartments and complementary retail is vital for our city’s future prosperity.
“This project will deliver an $89.7 million public benefit and create thousands of construction jobs, as well as thousands more when the development is complete and operational."
Ensuring that the mixed-use space will continue to provide job opportunities after construction is complete, the Lord Mayor believes PDG corporation’s development of this site will sustain the community’s growth and provide much-needed services in the area.
Doyle states, “Council purchased this strategic site for $76 million to safeguard its future and ensure we could deliver the vital services the community of the future will need. We didn’t want to see a poor-quality apartment tower there or a major supermarket moving in next to the market. This was always about planning for growth and QVM’s future prosperity.”
Special consideration was given during the site's design phase to ensure it would not be overdeveloped.
“The floor area ratio of 15.4:1 is lower than the 18:1 which is permitted in the CBD. The design of high-quality residential apartments is an exemplar of the Better Apartments design standards.”
PDG Corporation Managing Director Vince Giuliano said they were looking forward to lodging the planning application in the near future. “The proposal for the Munro site has been developed in response to its immediate and emerging context, the Queen Victoria Market precinct renewal masterplan and the independent panel’s built form control recommendations put forward in Amendment C245," he claims.
The site has been divided into two parcels, east and west, and separated by a proposed central north-south laneway. “A slender tower at the eastern end atop a podium has generous setbacks from all boundaries reducing the visual impact on the Market and the proposed Market Square," notes Giuliano.
“Moreover, the lower scale of the western community building will act as a visual buffer between the tower and Market Square.
“The proposal includes a network of pedestrian laneways and a new public square. The brick facades of the 20m street edge buildings on Therry and Queen streets respond to the low-rise heritage character of the market,” he adds.
Construction on the Munro site is scheduled for late 2017. The Lord Mayor has revealed that when the development is complete, Council aims to move customer car parking below ground and turn the existing car park into 1.5 hectares of public open space.
By moving the carpark underground, the Market traders can still transport their produce and invite customers to drive for their weekly shop. In addition, the public garden that is planned for the ground level space will provide a more fitting community area for the site of Melbourne’s first cemetery.
When asked about the necessity of securing the Munro site, The Lord Mayor said, “If we don’t do Munro we can’t do the Queen Victoria Market Renewal Project.”