Development Victoria is calling on the private sector to help replace a key Docklands site opposite Marvel Stadium with a commercial complex and hub for ferry and boat operators.
The facility at Wharf 8, Harbour Esplanade South, would replace the seven year old Glasshouse ticketing office and restaurant until recently occupied by Hortus x Seven Seeds Café.
It could also eat into the space accommodating John Kelly’s surrealist sculpture Cow up a Tree, which the state government arm and City of Melbourne announced in 2018 would be relocated to another wharf, opposite La Trobe Street.
Development Victoria hopes the Wharf 8 project will play a major role returning crowds and events to Docklands post COVID.
Consortiums which might comprise retail or hospitality operators are being targeted in an expressions of interest campaign closing on February 5.
The government is offering an initial five year lease on the completed building.
Wharf 8 to become ticketing, social hub: owner
Development Victoria hopes construction and upgrading Wharf 8 facilities to support Victoria Harbour’s charter fleet and ferry services can start within 12 months.
The parcel is prominent from the street, harbour and recently vacated Central Pier – which is in coming years also earmarked for new buildings (story continues below).
“Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne are encouraging interested parties to provide a creative solution for the [Wharf 8] hub, which will also deliver much-needed operations, public amenities and shelter in one of Docklands’ best-connected areas,” an owner statement said.
“It is a key pick up and drop off point for ferry and boat operators, has direct access to Marvel Stadium and has previously hosted Melbourne’s New Years Eve celebrations in Docklands,” the manager’s group head of Precincts, Geoff Ward, added.
“We are really interested to see what great ideas come forward,” according to the executive.
“By improving facilities and creating an exciting offering, more people will be drawn to enjoy what the area has to offer”.
Cow up a Tree
Cow up a Tree was one of 26 pieces – part of the Docklands Art Trail initiative – purchased by the state in the late 1990s to dot around the precinct which was about to undergo major urban renewal.
Rising eight metres and coated in five tonnes of bronze, the work is said to have cost several hundred thousand dollars.
It was one of three from a cast – another is held by a European investor.