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Development Victoria is partnering with Sport and Recreation Victoria and the AFL to manage the redevelopment of Marvel Stadium, as part of its continuing role driving the rejuvenation of Docklands.

Marvel Stadium will be opened up to the city and transformed into a seven-day-a-week community meeting place with a “Town Square” and new cafes, bars and restaurants under striking designs released today.

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.

More bicycle parking, a stadium sensory room, changing places facility and improved lighting all feature in the vision set out by architects Grimshaw with Smartform, with the project to go to construction tender next week.

The Victorian Government invested $225 million to fund the project as part of a landmark agreement withthe AFL and the Melbourne Cricket Club in 2018 that secured Victoria as the home of football.

The arrangement guarantees that the AFL Grand Final will be played at the MCG until at last 2058 and includes a partnership with the AFL to develop multicultural, indigenous and women’s football. The agreement also secures top-level footy in regional Victoria, including AFL games in Geelong and Ballarat.

Inside the stadium, fans in the stands will enjoy renovated food and beverage areas while new video display boards and other technology upgrades will further enhance the stadium experience. Competitors will be supported with upgrades to male and female change rooms.

The revitalisation of Marvel Stadium will create hundreds of local jobs during construction – the Victorian Government’s Local Jobs First policy commits government-funded projects to use locally-based suppliers, ensuring that economic stimulus is maximised.

A town planning permit application is due to be lodged with the City of Melbourne shortly. Pending approvals, construction could start in the middle of 2021.