The City of Melbourne has welcomed the Victorian Planning Minister's decision to approve a planning permit for what it has described as Australia's most sustainable mixed-use development on the Council-owned Munro site.
In a statement last week, Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the development within the Queen Victoria Market precinct will incorporate $70 million worth of community facilities for City North, with the population of this precinct predicted to increase by 22,000 by 2040.
"The City of Melbourne purchased this site from the Munro family for $76 million in 2014 to inoculate against inappropriate development and prevent a supermarket or large chain stores or franchises being built on the site, in direct competition to fresh food offerings of the Queen Vic," the Acting Lord Mayor said.
"I am pleased that we have now been given the go ahead to get shovels in the ground on this exemplar development which is the best Melbourne has seen in at least a decade.
"The community facilities include 56 affordable housing units, a 120 place childcare facility, family and children's services centre, community centre and kitchen, city room gallery, market customer car parking and complementary retail.
"This green light is great news for the City North community, Queen Victoria Market and traders as well as land owners in the area who can expect the value of their property to increase as a direct result of this Council investment in vital community infrastructure."
In late 2017, real estate agent Fitzroy's described the market precinct as 'probably one of the strongest growth areas in the CBD right now.' Leading property developer PDG Corporation is preparing to start work on site from July. The City of Melbourne will also relocate 500 car parking spaces under the Munro development from the existing asphalt customer car park in Franklin Street.
"The transformation of the existing car park into 1.5 hectares of new public open space – the largest public space created in the central city since Birrarung Marr – is made possible through the Munro development," the Acting Lord Mayor said.
"More open space is desperately needed to meet the needs of our growing population and to provide even more reasons for visitors and residents to come to the market precinct. Imagine all the attractions of the market that we know and love right next door to a world-class park for Melburnians of all ages to enjoy.
"It allows us to create a far more fitting acknowledgement to the Old Melbourne Cemetery located beneath the existing asphalt car park."
The Acting Lord Mayor said the development will also feature an open space and two new laneways, with the existing Blender Lane to remain.
"It will also be a world-class sustainable development with the City of Melbourne recently becoming the first local government in Australia to receive 6 Star Green Star – Communities accreditation for the entire precinct renewal program," the Acting Lord Mayor said.
"Once again, the City of Melbourne is leading the way on progressing innovative and sustainable developments, as we have done with the Library at the Dock and Council House 2 developments."
Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the project offered outstanding benefits for the precinct and the wider city.
"This project will create affordable homes where people want to live, will create construction and supply jobs for Victorians and will deliver open space for popular events."