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Designs revealed for $225 million upgrade of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium

Designs revealed for $225 million upgrade of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium
November 20, 2020

The AFL, in conjunction with the Victorian Government, has revealed the designs for the upgrade of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium precinct with the area to include new cafes, restaurants and bars to attract use away from times when the venue is hosting events.

Advising that “the Marvel Stadium precinct will be one of the best sports and entertainment destinations in the world, with its proximity to the city and a world class entertainment and food offering pre-and post-event”, AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan stated “the designers have captured our desire to amplify the stadium's ability to host multiple events across a calendar year and ensure fan experience has been front of mind when designing the upgrade.

"By renovating the existing structure, it will provide a more environmentally sustainable way of building, as well as ensuring minimal disruption to fans.”

Unveil the initial designs for the $225 million project from architects Grimshaw with Smartform, and announced that the project will shortly go out to tender to deliver the transformation of Marvel Stadium, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula explained that the Marvel Stadium and surrounding precinct works will include revitalised eastern and southern entry points, including a new 'Town Square' transforming the space into a seven-day-a-week, open and accessible area to gather Monday to Sunday or when attending a sporting event or concert.

The signature new Town Square plaza will welcome pedestrians arriving on the Bourke Street footbridge from Southern Cross Station – a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces with some stadium walls removed to provide a visual connection to the field of play.

Markets and community gatherings will fit naturally in the space while hospitality businesses on two levels will be open to the public and able to be converted to ticketed areas for AFL matches and concerts.

Overlooking Wurundjeri Way, a ‘City Edge’ Stadium extension will refurbish public and function areas and provide views back into Melbourne's CBD.

The redevelopment aims to enhance the fan experience with major renovations to public food and beverage areas connecting into the arena and overlooking the field of play, more spaces to catch up with friends pre-, during and post the match, two new and bigger scoreboards hanging from the roof at either end of venue, a new sensory room and changing places facility ensuring Marvel Stadium is a place that welcomes people of all abilities, and additional bicycle parking facilities to promote sustainable transport.

There will also be a boost to the event-day experience through improved lighting and technology upgrades throughout the stadium. Home clubs on a match day will be able to fully integrate their brand and club colours into the exterior and interior of new development – from the concourse, new entrances and through to function rooms.

Athletes will also be supported with upgrades to the team facilities to provide state-of-the-art male and female changerooms.

Minister Pakula noted “this project will turn Marvel Stadium into a true community asset – a fantastic place to watch the footy or catch a big act but also a place to gather and enjoy being part of Melbourne.”

Initial drawings released by the AFL two years ago included improved grandstands, a running track and 1500-seat ballroom to host major events such as the Brownlow Medal.

However, the AFL has since parted ways with the chief architect of those plans and went back to the drawing board to create the blueprint unveiled today.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the venue hosted more than 75 sport and entertainment events annually from the AFL Premiership season, Big Bash cricket to concerts of major acts like Taylor Swift, U2 and Ed Sheeran.

The project is part of the Victorian Government's $225 million partnership with the AFL, which in addition to the transformation of Marvel Stadium, secured the Toyota AFL Grand Final at the MCG until at least 2058.

Construction will begin in 2021.

Images: Concept renderings of the upgraded Marvel Stadium development. Images: Supplied.

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