Following 15 months of renovation works Southgate located along the Melbourne Southbank promenade was re-launched in November 2011.
Redevelopment of the Southbank area was first announced in 2008 with works proposed to extend and reinforce connections to the Yarra River, the CBD, Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and the sports and recreation precincts, all embracing the extensive gardens south of the city. Works proposed were to “enhance public connectivity and accessibility, linking Victoria’s major arts venues and companies via a new urban space, and provide exceptional public amenity for the community and burgeoning residential population of Southbank and the CBD”, (taken from the Major Project Victoria section of the State Government Victoria website).
Dexus Property Group, the owner and manager of Southgate has spent $26 million on the upgrade of Southgate which has been the first big revamp since the centre opened 19 years ago.
Works completed include:
- new escalators installed to encourage and make it easier for people to visit the higher levels;
- the outside ground floor promenade given a more rustic treatment; a series of beautiful ironbark pillars supporting an awning along the length of the waterfront;
- overhead heaters provided beneath these awnings;
- 28 new fitouts completed in the centre – 11 for new retailers that have joined the mix – and 17 renewals;
- new original art work pieces within the re-development and the Ophelia sculpture by Deborah Halpern, has been restored and shifted to a new home on the promenade.
In the early 1990’s Southbank was the subject of urban renewal aimed at stimulating development in a period when Melbourne was experiencing an economic downturn but particularly at opening the city to the Yarra River.
Southgate was opened in 1992 and was a reflection of Australia’s arts, food and wine scene with a distinct Melbourne flavour, as can be traced through the history of the Southbank location itself.
Hamer Hall, next to Southgate is still undergoing major redevelopment which will make the facility even more accessible, providing a better experience for audiences, and ensuring that it can continue to attract and present a wide range of top international and local performers. New pedestrian connections to the city, St Kilda Road and the River, with new stairs, improved disability access, escalators and lifts, have not yet been completed.
For further information on the Southgate please visit the Celebrate Southgate website.
Images by Laura O’Higgins at Collie (firstname.lastname@example.org)