Council approves Marvel upgrade plans

David Schout

The $225 million Marvel Stadium revamp has been given the City of Melbourne tick of approval, paving the way for works to begin in months.

The upgrade, which included no funds for the Harbour Esplanade side of the concourse, is set to feature a new internal “town square plaza” and “city edge” stadium expansion that would refurbish public and function areas that overlook the Wurundjeri Way side of the ground.

The plaza would open up to pedestrians arriving from Southern Cross Station across the Bourke St footbridge.

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the council’s urban planners had approved initial plans for the large-scale project.

“Docklands has gone from industrial land in the 1990s to a harbour precinct with more than 13,000 residents and a mix of residential, entertainment and commercial developments,” Cr Reece said.

“Marvel Stadium and the surrounding precinct is now more than 20 years old, and it needs an upgrade to make it more comfortable and appealing for players, spectators and event promoters.”

Works were set to begin in “the middle of 2021”.

To date there are no plans to upgrade the waterfront side of the stadium concourse, despite previous promises.

“I’m excited about opening up this precinct to the water in Melbourne,” AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan had said in March last year.

Locals had hoped an upgraded harbour side of the stadium concourse would create a livelier Docklands both on match days and during the week, particularly for local businesses looking to attract new clientele.

Cr Reece said, however, that the stadium would become a more welcoming prospect.

“The changes will make these sections of stadium more attractive, with blank walls being removed and new hospitality spaces made available. The pedestrian entries will be more clearly visible from the public domain.”

The AFL purchased Marvel Stadium (then Etihad Stadium) in 2016 and in a 2018 deal, the Andrews Government committed $225 million to the stadium upgrade.

In what is seen as a win-win deal for both parties, the AFL committed in return to keeping the Grand Final in Victoria (at the MCG) until at least 2058, quelling strong interest from rival states •



May 4th, 2022 - Abby Crawford
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