Plans for a $1.75bn waterfront precinct revealed for Docklands

Brendan Rees

A $1.75 billion ambitious plan to create “city changing” development in Docklands would transform a major site into a mix of luxury residential apartments, a hotel, sky-high hospitality venues, and “lagoon-like greenery”. 

Positioned next to Marvel Stadium at 208-226 Harbour Esplanade, the public realm attraction has been touted as a “huge drawcard” for Docklands – with the scale of the waterfront precinct to rival the awe-inspiring buildings of Singapore, Dubai, New York, and London, according to project’s developer Tim Gurner.

The project would be a joint venture between Mr Gurner and development consortium City Harbour – backed by the wealthy Liberman family – who hold the development rights of the 18,000-sqm site which currently operates as a carpark.

Details for the “botanical destination” are being finalised before the plans are expected to be lodged with the City of Melbourne before the end of this year.

Mr Gurner, the chief executive of Gurner, said the mixed-use, retail, and commercial precinct would anchor the site while multiple mixed-use towers, which would also house build-to-rent and build-to-sell residential apartments, would float above in “something Melbourne has never seen before”.

The proposal would see each tower have its own distinctive character, form, and function with inspiration to be drawn from some of the world’s most well-admired cities.

The site, bordered by Wurundjeri Way, Dudley St, La Trobe St and Harbour Esplanade, would be transformed to become the “entrance to the city and Docklands from Melbourne’s west,” with the development offering immediate Quay and harbour-front views.

Gurner, together with City Harbour, are seeking to amend the existing scheme to “unlock the full potential of the site” with the hope of significantly improving and increasing the size of the ground-floor public realm, which would also have a “significant focus” on pedestrian circulation, public activation, “lagoon-like greenery” and communal shared spaces.


Mr Gurner said the large-scale precinct would put Docklands on the global map and “create a lot of excitement and drive huge interest to the area and be something truly different for Docklands”.


“I’ve always loved the Docklands – I lived there with my wife for many years, and I always wanted to put my own stamp on it, but we needed a site that was large enough to be transformative – we’ll be creating a new world-class precinct, which will take the area to another level and put it on the world stage in terms of architecture, design and luxury property,” he said.

“Opportunities to create projects of this size and scale come along once in a lifetime – the Gurner brand has evolved into a national and multi-faceted business, and our capabilities mean we are among just a small handful of private developers that can confidently take on projects of this scale to deliver something that is transformative and ground-breaking.”

Mr Gurner said the proposed project would also create a “sense of adventure and wonderment in visitors” – with more public amenities and interaction between architecture.

“Our whole ethos is all about delivering a product that pushes boundaries – and this landmark destinational precinct will be no different, it will feel like you’re stepping into another world and experiencing something you didn’t think was possible in the built form,” he said. 

“We are committed to helping Docklands become what we all know it must be for our city to get back its claim as the world’s most liveable city.

“Docklands is the biggest opportunity in Melbourne for a world class precinct and we look forward to adding to its future.” 


Caption: Developer Tim Gurner has a plan to create a $$1.75bn development in Docklands.

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