Market renewal set to boost economy and create jobs

A major investment by the City of Melbourne to revitalise the Queen Victoria Market precinct will attract 18 million visitors a year, create nearly 15,000 new jobs and generate almost $1 billion in economic benefits, fast-tracking the Market’s recovery from COVID-19.

​An independent analysis of the viability and value of the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal program, which considered the impacts of COVID-19, stated now is a critical time to secure the future of the iconic Melbourne attraction and deliver economic and social benefit to the city.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the Updated Business Case confirmed the value of Council’s investment will protect and enhance the market for generations to come.

“Traders will find improved sheds and facilities to make their businesses more viable and customers will find it even more welcoming to visit, to dine and shop all the exceptional fresh produce and specialty goods our market is known for,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The community and surrounding small businesses win as well, with each dollar spent by Council on the renewal program returning more than $4 into the local economy, creating thousands of jobs.

“We know the market experience means so much to Melbourne – whether it is a long-standing weekly coffee date, a place to find those special ingredients, or a family business that has passed through generations. Those are the experiences we want to preserve and encourage more of through this investment.”

The 2021 Updated Business Case, prepared by SGS Economics & Planning, found the renewal program will:

  • Boost visitation to the Queen Victoria Market precinct to 18 million a year by 2051.
  • Generate significant benefits for the community – for every $1 invested in the renewal program, $4.13 in value will flow into the local economy. 
  • Create nearly 15,000 new jobs and 9,750 dwellings in the precinct by 2030.
  • Return Queen Victoria Market to profitability from 2025, with annual profits increasing to $5 million by 2030 and $10 million by 2050.
  • Deliver a financial return for the project, with a Net Present Value of $120 million and an Internal Rate of Return of 5.7 per cent.

Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos said the renewal program is crucial for the market’s recovery and revitalisation.

“The renewal program will allow us to retain the heritage, traditions and authenticity of Queen Victoria Market, while making it more efficient for our 600 small business owners, and more attractive for people to visit, shop and enjoy,” he said.

“We want to see our traders survive and thrive, and this important project will allow us to protect the market, making it more resilient into the future.”

The Updated Business Case builds on the 2017 Business Case and the 2019 Options Analysis, ensuring the $268 million gross investment – down from $308 million in 2017 – brings wide-ranging benefits to residents, workers and visitors.

“Our Updated Business Case tells us this renewal program is essential in securing the market’s future. Without it, it could take more than 20 years for market visitation to bounce back to pre-COVID levels,” the Lord Mayor said.

“While our renewal hasn’t been immune to the challenges of COVID-19, and we’ve had to deliver cost savings across the budget, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve and enhance a Melbourne icon, and we’re committed to getting on with the job.”

The Delivery Plan for the renewal program has also been updated to reflect changes to essential market infrastructure and timeframes, as a result of the 2018 People’s Panel process, the 2020 State Agreement and COVID-19.

The market precinct is already benefiting from a new 500-space underground car park and the recently opened pop-up park. Next year, work will start on the Trader Shed, Northern Shed and refurbishing the Food Court, to be finished by 2024. Work also continues on restoring the market’s historic sheds.

The Queen Victoria Market precinct renewal program includes heritage restoration works; essential trader facilities, including state-of-the-art logistics, storage, waste and recycling infrastructure; improved weather protection; new customer amenities with more places to shop and stay; improved sustainability measures, including solar power; and broader precinct revitalisation, including more than 1.75 hectares of open public space.

Councillors will consider the Updated Business Case and Delivery Plan at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on Tuesday 7 December.

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