Mixed-use “fish market” proposed for Central Pier

Mixed-use “fish market” proposed for Central Pier
Sean Car

A concept seven years in the making for a giant fish-shaped structure, complete with a wet fish market, education facilities, restaurants and an events centre to “compete with Crown Palladium”, is being proposed to replace Central Pier. 

The group behind the draft proposal, the Melbourne City Fish Market, released images of the concept publicly last month and says it plans to take part in Development Victoria’s current consultation process for Central Pier to gauge the community’s interests. 

Melbourne City Fish Market director Nick Tate told Docklands News that the team behind the vision wanted the multi-level space to be inclusive and “work for everyone”, including residents as “they’re a big part of Docklands”. 

He said that the proposal, estimated to cost around $200 million, would house a marine biology campus shared between University of Melbourne, and Swinburne and Monash universities, while also operating a sustainable seafood industry school.

It would also include an auditorium for cooking, high-end seafood restaurants, smaller “hawker-style” eateries, a large corporate entertainment centre to compete with Crown for events such as the Brownlow Medal, as well as accommodation “if it was permitted”. 

The design of the building in itself proposes to become a major attraction and would allow for changing projections for major events and arts installations. As a “fully green building” Mr Tate said much of its operations would be powered by solar energy. 

He told Docklands News that the team behind the vision wanted to provide a “gravity point” for Docklands and help drive visitation to the precinct. 

“I’ve been putting this together for seven years, so it’s not just something that’s come up since the pier was shut a few years back. It’s been about working with different areas of industry to make sure that’s it’s got something for everyone,” Mr Tate said. 

“Melbourne is a multicultural town; one of the best in the world. And that’s the idea of having the wet fish market as well is to have the hawker stands around there, allowing for a lot of smaller type eateries and displaying Melbourne’s multicultural cooking culture.”


“To me, it [Docklands] needs a gravity point, and I think something like this is definitely needed just to breathe a bit of life into the area. We just want to see something successful go there – something that’s going to give something back, not going to take.” 


Mr Tate said the proposal would also place a “major focus” on incorporating various heritage elements from Central Pier’s sheds within the new facility to showcase its rich maritime history. 

While a formal business case has yet to be finalised for the concept, he said based on conservative estimates, the building would help inject $400 million into the economy annually, with investment to be sought from both public and private sources. 

For now, he said the group was looking for as much as feedback as possible as it continued to refine its concept. 

For more information: facebook.com/melbournecityfishmarket

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