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A new public realm for Ringwood

Suburban shopping centres are known more for their tendency of being surrounded by car parks rather than embracing their immediate urban surrounds. Chadstone, Highpoint and Southland definitely fall into the former category, yet as Eastland's metamorphosis continues it is emerging as one of Melbourne's most progressive and inclusive retail destinations.

With Ringwood Station directly opposite (images of its redevelopment can be seen below), centre owner QIC and architects The Buchan Group went about creating a new town centre for Ringwood, taking full toll of Eastland's unique position of being located adjacent to a major transport node.

The addition of further retail space as part of the redevelopment is frankly neither here nor there from an urban perspective, but the delivery of a genuine town square is highly commendable.

The distinctive centre shard entry

The creation of a true Town Centre for Ringwood is a shared vision of QIC, the Victorian Government and Maroondah City Council. A new Ringwood Town Square will set a new standard for quality, service and amenity, featuring exceptional retailing, contemporary al fresco dining incorporating signature restaurants, as well as generous public space for an integrated mix of activities.

Ringwood Going Places

As part of the development a new community facility dubbed 'Realm' has recently been commissioned. Incorporating a fully integrated library, learning and cultural centre, Council Customer Service Centre, cafe plus art gallery/exhibition spaces, Realm shapes as the key aspect of Ringwood's new public realm.

Positioned to the fore and soon to be linked with the revamped Ringwood Station via improved pedestrian links, Realm is veiled in a distinctive latticework design that compliments the new exterior of the entire complex. Finishes over the entire redevelopment to date are a step above equivalent recent centre redevelopments.

Slated for the new town square over summer are night markets and music events while the addition of a large TV screen next to Realm will further draw in crowds if and when major events are telecast.

Work still continues on the complex

Elsewhere within Eastland and work continues on the $665 million transformation with Probuild Constructions' efforts centred upon the north east section of the site. Upon completion Eastland in its totality will hold 127,000sqm of retail space and in excess of 350 specialty stores plus ancillary services.

The next phase of redevelopment is expected to see a 120-room, five storey hotel front Maroondah Highway. Abutting the newly completed town square, the hotel will frame the western interface of the public thoroughfare and sit opposite the state-of-the-art Realm facility.

Realm with adjoining screen for public events

4 comments

Aussie Steve's picture

If you haven't yet been out to Eastland to see this amazing transformation, it is certainly worth a visit. The new square was busy last weekend and its is extremely well designed and executed albeit not finished as yet, but there is excellent potential for it to become a great outdoor space for the outer eastern suburbs.

All Ringwood now needs are major apartments, hotels and office developments to boost the population and activity in the surrounding area.

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Melbman's picture

Great to hear.

It appears that hotels and apartments are very much on the agenda around there which will go a long way to increasing demand.

The Town Square certainly looks like a great asset for the community. Well done QIC and all other stakeholders.

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Evan Cottle's picture

There's been a fair bit of bleating over the lack of a pedestrian bridge across Maroondah Highway. People are saying it's been botched. Now, I like bridges, I reckon they're interesting - but I honestly think that they've (council/QIC/Vicroads/PTV) done the right thing.

Traffic has been reduced on the road through changes to encourage traffic to use the Ringwood Bypass, paired with a permanent 40km/h speed limit through the centre of Ringwood. The crossing has been rebuilt such that it's now considerably more inviting and convenient. It appears to be at the moment on a 60/30 second car/pedestrian cycle, which isn't bad.

And looking at the visual impact of it all, it's so much nicer at-grade than it could possibly be with an under/overpass. Once the trees that have been planted either side of and in the median of the road mature, it should be quite even nicer.

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Aussie Steve's picture

Evan, you are right. Look at Lonsdale Street Dandenong. There is no need for pedestrian bridges over that street and with traffic slowed down, new landscaping and newer traffic lanes thanks to the better use of the Ringwood Bypass, the Maroondah Highway is and should continue to be down graded and thus allow for more pedestrian traffic to cross it safely and more often. I agree, no pedestrian bridge is the right move.

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