It’s one of Melbourne’s most famous destinations attracting some 10 million visitors each year.
It’s home to more than 650 small traders and family-owned and operated businesses, and is the longest-surviving marketplace of its size and diversity in Australia.
It’s a critical part of Melbourne’s early development and continues to play a central role in the city’s cultural, business and social life.
Through the renewal of the Queen Victoria Market and surrounding precinct, we’re restoring the market’s heritage while delivering modern facilities to make the market work better for traders, customers and visitors, and revitalising this growing part of the city.
In this special feature, we take a look at the projects we’ve delivered and the ones to come that will ensure the future of our city’s 145-year-old magnificent market for generations to come.
Historic market transformation
Melbourne’s beloved Queen Victoria Market is set to undergo a $1.7 billion transformation.
We’re partnering with Lendlease to transform the market precinct in what is the biggest mixed-use development in our history – attracting more customers and boosting business for traders.
Gurrowa Place will be developed by Lendlease, following our landmark divestment of the Southern Precinct – generating more than $1 billion in economic activity and creating more than 4000 new jobs.
The once-in-a-generation project will enhance the traditional market experience Melburnians and visitors know and love – with iconic laneways and arcades to explore, a uniquely Melbourne retail offering, and new spaces to bring people together.
Gurrowa Place will include build-to-rent apartments and 15 per cent affordable housing, student accommodation and landmark office space across three buildings – all connected to the market by the soon-to-be revamped Franklin Street stores.
A new underground car park will provide 220 spaces for market customers, and 300 spaces on weekends.
We’ll also create a new Market Square – unlocking one of the largest open spaces in the CBD. The 1.8 hectare ‘people’s park’ will become a magnet for residents, locals and visitors.
In consultation with Traditional Owners, Gurrowa Place will pay tribute to the site’s history. Gurrowa means place of exchange or interchange, reflecting the purpose of the market.
The divestment of the Southern Precinct follows an agreement with the State Government in 2014 to transfer the site to us to be sold, with all funds reinvested in the market’s renewal.
Construction is expected to start next year with projects to be delivered in stages.
Franklin Street refresh
We’re also proposing to create a new link between the heart of the CBD and Queen Victoria Market along Franklin Street, paving the way for the landmark Gurrowa Place development.
Early works on the first stage of this project are set to start later this year on William Street, with works to realign Franklin Street.
The Franklin Street transformation project includes 1250 sqm of open space plus more trees and plants, providing 40 per cent more coverage and helping create a cooler environment.
We’ll also turn four lanes of traffic into two, create better connections for people moving between the CBD and Queen Victoria Market, and improve safety with new pedestrian crossings, lighting and reduced traffic flow.
We’re delivering the transformation of Franklin Street in partnership with the State Government as part of the $100 million Transport and Amenity Program.
New food hall
Set to open in spring, the new Food Hall will offer customers a contemporary place to eat, meet and enjoy the market atmosphere.
The tenancies are currently being fitted out in preparation for a diverse range of fresh food and drink offerings.
Our city’s largest library and community hub is set to open in November on the doorstep of Queen Victoria Market.
The Munro development will also include family services, 2500 sqm of open space and laneways, new hospitality and retail stores.
Affordable housing apartments and 500 underground car parks for market customers opened in December 2021, and a boutique hotel and apartments were completed in November 2022.
A safer streetscape
We’ve just upgraded the streetscape and roadway in front of the Munro development along Therry and Queen streets.
As a key gateway into the market, the upgrade of the streetscape will greatly improve safety, create a more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly street with wider footpaths, more greenery, lighting and shade for customers to stop and enjoy the market atmosphere.
Heritage shed restoration
We’re investing more than $30 million to restore the market’s culturally and historically significant open air sheds, securing them as the unique backdrop of the market experience.
Ten of the 12 sheds have been restored since 2020. This year, the heritage shed restoration program moves to the final stage in Sheds H and I, with works to repair and strengthen structural elements, painting, new insulated roofing to improve the temperature under the sheds, and upgrade of common area services.
String Bean Alley
Twenty-six independent traders in bespoke shipping containers now call String Bean Alley home and provide a uniquely Melbourne shopping experience in the heart of the market.
String Bean Alley is one of a series of key market improvements identified in the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Master Plan which directly address feedback from customers and traders, as well as recommendations from the People’s Panel.
More sustainable operations
Traders and customers told us that making Queen Victoria Market more sustainable is important. Solar power, stormwater harvesting and an on-site organic waste recycling facility are just a few of the projects proposed for the renewed market precinct.
We’ve already powered up more than 1550 solar panels to cut carbon emissions and reduce the market’s electricity bill. Upon completion of the renewal project, the market will be powered by 3765 sqm of solar panels.