Construction commences on one of 2018's most significant projects

Likened in some quarters as a miniature Federation Square, construction works began last week on a Prahran project that will rank as one of 2018's most progressive and important.

Kane Constructions has the job of transforming 30-40 Izett Street under a $60+ million urban renewal initiative prompted by Stonnington City Council. On the outer is the surface car park; it will be replaced by 10,000 square metres of multifunctional urban parkland.

Similar to what is intended for the Queen Victoria Market car park, all vehicles will be directed underground in order to create a more environmentally and pedestrian friendly outcome. 500 plus vehicles will be accommodated over the project's underground levels.

Council states that "When completed in 2019, Cato Square as it has been dubbed will create urgently needed open space for recreation, events, festivals and markets and a 20 per cent increase on the current car park for shoppers and retailers in the surrounding Chapel Street and Greville Street precincts. Cato Square will become an iconic cultural and recreational destination for residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors to Stonnington, with spaces for quiet contemplation or vibrant community events."

Cato Square internal open space. Image: Lyons

In a press release earlier this month City of Stonnington Mayor Cr Steve Stefanopoulos stated “We want to continue to enhance the vibrancy of our iconic Chapel Street precinct. Our vision is for this site to be recognised as a world-class public space that can be enjoyed by everyone.

We will achieve this by transforming the existing car park into an active, vibrant, safe and exciting public open space. Cato Square is a working name, and next year we’ll engage with our community about what to call the site once constructed, and also how to activate it with events and activities."

Lyons is the architectural force behind the project with ASPECT Studios accounting for Cato Square's landscape design.

Active spaces feature to all frontages. Image: Lyons

Bound by Cato Street, Izett Street, Wattle Street and Chatham Street, the project is slated for a staged completion over 2019. By mid next year two levels of underground car parking will be available for public use with Cato Square set to open fully by October 2019.

Cato Square's major features include:

  • A central square with water feature
  • Feature seating including terraced seating
  • Themed green zones with different shading and landscaping, incorporating ESD features
  • Free public WiFi
  • Ability to hold events such as festivals, live performances and outdoor cinema
  • Safe and improved pedestrian environment around the site
  • Recognition of the site’s history
  • Two retail/hospitality opportunity spaces
  • Integrated public art

Invariably Stonnington City Council will hope that Cato Square will in time mirror the successful nature of Federation Square in attracting major crowds and significant public events.

1 comment

Mark K's picture

The most troubling aspects of this concept was, despite the creation of a new 'public space', this was ultimately designed to attract additional cars to an area well served by public transport. The current carpark certainly wasn't the nicest space in the world but I don't believe any improvement to the surface level design can solve the significant conflicts between pedestrians and service vehicles. Creating an additional pull for pedestrians will likely add to the possibility of conflict. I'm not convinced. I'm particularly not convinced this will not become a new graffiti magnet. I know 'Urban Melbourne' likes to put a positive spin on all developments but as a conduit for critical discourse, its not really the go to Blog.

Mark Kozakiewicz

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