VIC Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation project begins early works

Monica Gameng   |   May 20, 2022
Melbourne Arts Precinct (cr: Creative Victoria)

The landmark Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation project is getting underway as early works commence on the $1.7 billion development. 

Lendlease has been awarded the contract to undertake early works, which is anticipated to generate more than 100 jobs, paving the way for major construction to begin next year. 

Early works will include the relocation of critical shared utilities and services to ensure the NGV and Arts Centre Melbourne continue operating during construction along with site investigations and ground testing. 

“Victoria is known as the creative state for a reason – our galleries, museums, libraries, music venues, theatres and festivals bring millions of people here every year, helping grow our economy and create jobs. 

“These early works will deliver hundreds of jobs and signify the beginning of an exciting new era for the state’s creative sector,” Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said. 

The preliminary works are vital to the refurbishment of the State Theatre, which will include improved accessibility and acoustics, new hospitality destinations as well as upgraded back-of-house facilities such as new rehearsal spaces and loading docks for larger productions. Other refurbishments will include vital works on the building’s “uniquely engineered foundation and basement structure”. 


The Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation project is going to be delivered in two phases: 

  • Phase One 
    • A unique new 18,000 square metre immersive public garden in the heart of the precinct, including space for outdoor art and performances 
    • NGV Contemporary, a new gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design – set to be the largest of its kind in Australia 
    • New connections and improved access into and through the precinct 
    • Underground shared services that will ensure the seamless and sustainable operations of the precinct and its venues 
  • Phase Two 
    • An upgraded and reimagined Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres Building, beneath the iconic spire 
    • A new Centre for Creativity, run by Arts Centre Melbourne, with spaces and facilities for Victoria’s small to medium and independent arts sector, a new performance arts gallery and an expanded Australian Music Vault 

The more than one-billion-dollar transformation project is expected to create more than 11,000 jobs over its life and hundreds more in the creative sector once the precinct opens in 2028. 

“Victorians love the arts precinct and it has served us well – but the transformation will take that to a new plane, entertaining and illuminating us for decades to come and bringing visitors from around the world,” Minister Pearson said. 

Through the Victorian Budget 2022/23, the State Government has allocated $245.8 million to back the creative sector at all levels – supporting workers, businesses and institutions. 

Arts Centre Melbourne along with six other cultural icons such as Museums Victoria, NGV and State Library Victoria will share in $127.4 million to support “a strong recovery” following the two-year disruption due to the global pandemic. 

On the other hand, Footscray Community Arts and Castlemaine Art Museum are among the smaller oprganisations that will share a $17.5 million funding to help improve facilities for both audiences and artists. 

Source: Premier of Victoria – Media Centre; Creative Victoria; Development Victoria 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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