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Key details

Southbank, Melbourne

Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation (MAP Co) 

Project partners
National Gallery Victoria
Arts Centre Melbourne

Contact email





Development Victoria is delivering the transformation of the Melbourne Arts Precinct, Australia’s largest cultural infrastructure project, on behalf of Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation.

The $1.7 billion project will transform Melbourne's creative precinct - attracting visitors, creating jobs and establishing creative spaces and a vibrant new Public Realm in the heart of the city.

The Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation project will deliver: 

  • 18,000 square metre public parkland in the heart of Melbourne 
  • more space for outdoor art and performances  
  • The Fox: NGV Contemporary gallery 
  • new connections into and through the arts precinct  
  • improved all-abilities access  
  • new restaurants and bar spaces  
  • better rehearsal facilities to support our performing arts sector 
  • a new loading dock 
  • significant upgrades to Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building  

The area is of great significance to our First Nation Peoples and we’re talking with and listening to the traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, to promote and share their stories about connections to their land 

Early works

Early works on the project have started and you’ll see a lot more activity in the area as works progress. Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV will remain open for business throughout, and you can keep attending their exhibitions and events.

In order to do all the works, we will need to clear the area, which means plants, trees, landscaping and paved outdoor areas behind the Theatres Building and towards Hamer Hall will be removed. When the project is complete, the new public parklands will have significantly more plants, trees and landscaping for Victorians to enjoy.

To helps us better understand the current noise levels of the project area, we will be doing acoustic monitoring. The monitoring will involve the use of both hand-held devices and noise monitoring equipment placed in different locations. This data will help us keep noise impacts to a minimum throughout the project.

There’ll be changes to access at different times including permanent closure of Sturt Street. We’ll have traffic management in place to make it safe for drivers and pedestrians, and information will be shared closer to the time. Learn more on our construction updates page.

For any questions or more information email us at

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Project works update

Early works on the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation started in July 2022 and you’ll see a lot more activity in the area as works progress.

Arts Centre Melbourne, the NGV, The Australian Ballet and tenants of the Ballet building will remain open for business throughout all the works. 

This map shows how vehicles can travel through the area when Sturt Street closes between City Road and Southbank Boulevard. 

Visit the Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation website for all the latest construction updates..

Works behind Arts Centre Melbourne

Works have started behind the Arts Centre Theatres Building. Hoarding is in place, and artworks have been removed to keep them safe.

Works will be done within the following operating hours.

  • Mondays to Fridays – 7am to 7pm
  • Saturdays – 8am to 3pm

Noisy works will conclude 30 minutes before matinee performances at the Arts Centre Melbourne which typically occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

At times, we may need to work outside of these hours. If night works or Sunday works are required, we’ll be in contact with directly impacted residents. 

Sturt Street traffic changes

From 9 March 2023, Sthe remaining section of Sturt Street between Kavanagh Street and Southbank Boulevard will be closed.

The section of Sturt Street between City Road and Kavanagh Street, also known as the slip lane, closed permanently on 12 January 2023 to allow construction work to continue on the northern end of the project, behind Arts Centre Melbourne.

Only authorised vehicles have access to Sturt Street loading docks. 

Why are we closing Sturt Street?

Closing Sturt Street means we can build the decking structure that will support the 18,000 square metres of urban garden, new back of house facilities for Arts Centre Melbourne, and improved shared services for Arts Centre Melbourne, NGV International and The Fox: NGV Contemporary.

View the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation March 2023 construction update for more information. 

Sturt Street - Services Relocations

Services such as power, water, sewerage and communications need to be re-routed or relocated to get ready for major works on the Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation.  Some of these works may be done in nearby streets, depending on the location of the services. This may result in traffic disruptions. Traffic management will be in place. 

The services works are scheduled to start late 2022 and will run into 2023. 

Other works 

What is happening in Dodds Street, Southbank?

City of Melbourne has commenced the Dodds Street Linear Park project, converting the road in Dodds Street between Grant Street and Southbank Boulevard into public open space. Landscaping work began in January 2023 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2023.

Find out more about this project on City of Melbourne’s website.


The people of the Kulin Nations have gathered on this site for thousands of years and continue to do so today.


  • Cooper and Bailey’s Great American International Circus first pitch their tent next to St Kilda Road
  • Fitzgerald Brothers’ take over the site, first opening the Olympia circus building and later the “fashionable rendezvous” Prince’s Court, which included a Japanese tea-house, toboggan, a huge water chute and an open-air theatre
  • The Glacarium ice skating rink opens on City Road. Dancers skate to orchestral music, and the rink later plays host to the first game of ice hockey in Australia — it's also used for dancing and film screenings
  • Wirths’ Circus takes over from Fitzgerald Brothers’ — they become a mainstay of Melbourne entertainment for the next fifty years, adding a roller skating rink and cinema
  • Olympia is converted into the Green Mill dance hall, replete with replica Dutch windmill and a grand ballroom graced with a fernery and waterfalls where 3000 patrons could dance the night away under a ceiling of twinkling stars
  • Wirths Park reserved for cultural purposes — it would be more than 20 years before the first cultural institution opens on the site
  • Architect Roy Grounds’ master plan for the Victorian Arts Centre Complex is completed, including a new gallery, concert hall and theatres building topped with a landmark spire
  • NGV opens — such is the public affection for the water wall and the world’s largest stained-glass ceiling that it is heritage listed just 14 years after it was completed
  • The Victorian College of the Arts is established — unique among Australian art schools, the VCA offers experimental studio and performance-based tertiary courses in visual arts, music, dance, drama, film and television, and creative arts
  • Melbourne Concert Hall opens (now Hamer Hall) — the city’s premier venue for orchestral performance seats 2,500 people
  • Arts Centre Melbourne theatres building opens — under the city’s landmark spire you’ll find the State Theatre, Playhouse, Fairfax Studio, Australian Music Vault, and a host of other exhibition and performance spaces
  • Australian Ballet House opens — home to the Australian Ballet and Australian Ballet School
  • Playbox Theatre is renamed Malthouse Theatre after its new home on Sturt Street, which was once a brewer’s malthouse
  • Southbank Promenade opens, facilitating the urban renewal of Southbank that continues today
  • Southbank footbridge opens (now Evan Walker Bridge) — this dedicated pedestrian bridge over the Yarra is the first of several to connect the city to the emerging arts precinct of Southbank
  • ABC Southbank Centre opens — in launching the centre Prime Minister Paul Keating predicts that Southbank will one day become a significant arts precinct
  • New Arts Centre Melbourne spire completed — changes to the original design of the Theatres Building meant the spire was not constructed as envisaged, but today it reaches 162 metres as originally intended
  • The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art opens on Sturt Street after almost 20 years in a former gardener’s cottage on The Domain
  • NGV International reopens after a three-year redevelopment, following the construction of a dedicated Australian gallery at Federation Square
  • Melbourne Recital Centre and Southbank Theatre open — it's the city’s second-largest classical music auditorium
  • Southbank Theatre is home to the Melbourne Theatre Company, the oldest professional theatre company in Australia
  • Testing Grounds opens — an experimental outdoor arts space activates the vacant site at 1 City Road
  • The Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint is released, identifying key Southbank sites for potential development including the Victoria Police stables, the CUB/Fosters building and 1 City Road
  • The Victoria Police stables reopen as 170 studios and flexible exhibition spaces for VCA students
  • Buxton Contemporary opens, a gift of philanthropist Michael Buxton and family
  • The Victorian Government announces an investment of more than $200 million over the next two years to reimagine the Melbourne Arts Precinct, including the purchase of the former CUB/Fosters building

Updated on 21 March 2023