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Has Richmond Station's revamp disappeared into the ether?

If you look back at the history of Richmond Station's proposed redevelopment, it begins to sound altogether very familiar - much like the proposed deck over the Jolimont Railyards which it abuts - and altogether very average. The sustained inability of successive governments to achieve anything more than chatter about the project is a poor reflection on the State's inability to deliver on this particular project.

Talk of the redevelopment has intermittently surfaced over the last decade, with seemingly no concrete process in place to advance the cause. Multi-disciplinary firm GHD produced the ZERO concept (seen below) for the site during 2007/2008, it was placed on the agenda by then minister Matthew Guy during 2011, and once again during 2014.

Zero by GHD

The Property Council of Australia consider it as one of their 20 best and most crucial development sites in Victoria, yet a sweep of the Major Projects Victoria, VicTrack or Places Victoria websites has it absent from all three. Granted the project is not the highest priority on the State to-do list, but nor is it a project worth disregarding by Spring Street; at least that's the impression garnered from the distinct lack of public activity surrounding the project.

Enter another concept

In what seems to be a creative exercise Fraser Paxton Architects have recently added a design for a renewed Richmond Station to their website. While nothing more than a concept, the design does explore the possibilities of adding any potential development bulk west of the station in what would be the likely positioning of any high-rise towers, should any development occur down the track… so to speak.

Richmond Station redevelopment concept. Image courtesy Fraser Paxton

Long will this site be argued about by the bureaucrats. One of the most underused and under developed sites in Melbourne, we thought it would be a good idea to give it a kick start and have a crack at designing what it needs.

450 residential units soar toward the city in a horizontal skyscraper filled wih amenity and retail through it's belly that scrapes the rail below.

Homage to the MCG by not blocking any view to it, this building would be magnificent, stretching, trying to reach the city and in it's finest moment, accessing 12 train lines to different part of metropolitan Melbourne right at it's door step.

Fraser Paxton Architects

As is the case with the many times spoken of deck and civic space over the Jolimont Railyards, any revamp of Richmond Station looks like little more than a pipe dream at this stage. Maybe it's time Major Projects Victoria look a leaf out of the Jewell Station redevelopment book which sees a State-owned enterprise partner with a private developer to create a viable redevelopment plan for a key infrastructure asset; after all managing complex public private partnership construction projects under the Partnerships Victoria framework is part of Major Projects Victoria's charter.

Under a public private partnership Richmond Station's proposed redevelopment could be pushed through at a much quicker pace whilst in theory still maintaining key public design features such as amenity and public permeability etc. that are often neglected by purely private developments.

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