Work will start next week on a new civic space outside the ABC Centre, as part of the Southbank Boulevard upgrade project.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said 2200 square metres of additional open space will be created between Sturt Street and Moore Street.
“This is the third stage in the Southbank Boulevard upgrade and this part of the project will transform an area the equivalent of almost two Olympic-sized swimming pools,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We have always valued parks and green space, but COVID-19 restrictions have shown just how vital open space is for people to get fresh air while maintaining physical distance.
“Investing in new parks and public open spaces is a top priority for the City of Melbourne and this project will deliver Southbank residents, workers and visitors with new gardens, seating, lawns and a large area for events.
“The central stone terrace will be equipped with data and electrical points for outside broadcasts and community event holders can access power.
“The extensive gardens will feature 50 new trees from a variety of species with an iconic River Red Gum as the focal point.”
The Lord Mayor said upgraded public lighting will ensure the space is welcoming at all times of the day and will provide a sense of security during the evening.
“We want to make this area attractive and welcoming during the day or night so locals, workers and visitors feel safe to enjoy these new gardens, seating areas and lawns,” the Lord Mayor said.
Deputy Chair of Major Projects Councillor Nicholas Reece said the transformation of Southbank Boulevard is a key project in City of Melbourne’s 2020-21 capital works program.
“It will take a number of months to demolish and remove the existing roadway, excavate subsurface soil and install the electrical, communications and drainage services,” Cr Reece said
“The new park will then start to take shape as bluestone paving is laid, concrete poured and the lawns and trees planted.”
The Lord Mayor said there would be some noise and disruption in the first few months of demolition, and some pedestrian detours during construction.
“Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that this project has already had a number of delays. I’ve made it very clear to our team that continued delays are unacceptable to our local community,” the Lord Mayor said.
“For the remainder of this project, our team is committed to reducing disruption to residents, workers and businesses wherever possible. We are particularly mindful that many people are working from home.
“We will schedule works to reduce disruption as much as possible and will notify residents and business well in advance so they can plan ahead.”
Roadway, tramline and lighting works between St Kilda Road and City Road are complete.
Separated bike lanes have opened along Linlithgow Avenue and Southbank Boulevard, and the remaining bike lanes are expected to open by late 2020.