Harbour Esplanade at night. © Places Victoria

Places Victoria submits Harbour Esplanade Masterplan

Last week Places Victoria lodged a planning application for the Harbour Esplanade Master Plan with City of Melbourne who have since commenced assessment of the master plan, and will in due course prepare a report for consideration by the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee sometime in early 2015.

Harbour Esplanade. © Places Victoria

In July 2014, Places Victoria and the City of Melbourne engaged Hassell to refine the Harbour Esplanade Master Plan for what has thus far been an underutilised urban centrepiece for Docklands. The Master Plan is a blueprint for the future development of a flexible, adaptive and changing event space by the water. It proposes an 8m wide waterfront promenade spanning the full length of Harbour Esplanade and features seven key zones:

  • An Urban Plaza Zone at the southern end of Harbour Esplanade including a green area and improved east-west connections and crossings for pedestrians.
  • An Exhibition and Events Zone, with flexible spaces that can be activated for events and exhibitions.This area will include some buildings and the potential for restored heritage sheds or elements of heritage sheds.
  • A Water Transport Zone, making provision for a future ferry terminal.
  • A Central Entrance and Service Zone, providing a key entry point to Central Pier and a flexible area for transport services during events.
  • A Recreation Zone at the northern end of Harbour Esplanade featuring a water play space for families, a green area and improved east-west connections and crossings for pedestrians. This area will also include some buildings and the potential for restored heritage sheds or elements of heritage sheds, however views from LaTrobe Street to the harbour will be protected.
  • A Heritage Vessel Zone, making provision for heritage vessels to be moored in the harbour.
  • An Active Street Edge Zone which will see the improvement of the eastern street edge in front of Etihad Stadium.
Harbour Esplanade Master Plan Overview. © Hassell

Looking beyond Harbour Esplanade to Central Pier

Of particular interest is Central Pier; although not encompassed within the Harbour Esplanade Master Plan, Places Victoria considers it to be a vital component of the Docklands waterfront that will ultimately breathe new life into the area. As such Places Victoria intends to begin progressing ideas to develop Central Pier in 2015.

Central Pier / Harbour Esplanade. © Places Victoria

Places Victoria is the custodian of the historic Central Pier on behalf of the Victorian Government and the people of Victoria. The 350 metre extension into the waterways of Victoria Harbour is almost 100 years old and, together with Harbour Esplanade, forms the centrepiece of Docklands.

In 2006, Places Victoria entered into a lease agreement with Corporate Events Australia and The Atlantic Group, which saw the historic sheds on Central Pier restored for function spaces, offices and restaurants. The lease ensures that the use of Central Pier is maximised in the short to medium-term while providing flexibility to develop a long-term vision for the development of the area.

Central Pier’s Shed 9 is now one of the largest event spaces in Melbourne and Shed 14 is home to the Woolshed Pub, the artisan bread house Mill & Bakery, Italian eatery Va Bene and cocktail bar Alumbra.

Places Victoria’s long-term vision for Central Pier is for it to become the most significant public water site in Victoria – a lively, interactive public hub at the centre of Docklands that will become a major destination for residents, workers and visitors of Docklands.

Places Victoria

The Esplanade Master Plan is available for viewing. For more information, visit the Places Victoria website.


Nicholas Harrison's picture

Uninspiring. A lot of work for an obvious outcome.

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Martin Mankowski's picture

Good to see there is provision for a ferry terminal. Interesting to see what the status is of the mooted Wyndham Harbour ferry with the new government.

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Adrian's picture

Like pretty much everything else at Docklands .. Yawwwwn

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Bilby's picture

This hardly inspires confidence in the future of this precinct.

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Rohan Storey's picture

Yes this should have been the centrepiece from the beginning, they thought just demolishing the sheds and opening up views was enough ! Now they propose to rebuild some of them, leaving gaps, which was one of the options before the demolition happened ! Suppose they must have the bits in storage. Has taken um 12 years to get back to what they should have done in the first place.

Also, a huge wast to have the AFL hq occupying all of the other side of harbour esplanade, should be something with much higher public use.

And looking at those options, maybe having a roadway at all was a mistake - wurrundjerri way is there so that theres no through traffic on the 'waterfront' so might as well have none !

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