Melbourne Park Redevelopment secures place on world stage

Published: 21 Jan 2022

The Victorian Government’s near $1 billion Melbourne Park Redevelopment has transformed the Melbourne & Olympic Parks sports and entertainment precinct into one of the world’s best.

The precinct attracts an impressive 2.5 million people to around 400 events ever year.

With the completion of Stage 3 of the Melbourne Park Redevelopment in August 2021, visitors to the precinct will now enjoy Tanderrum Bridge, a new footbridge over Batman Avenue providing direct pedestrian access from Flinders Street station, upgrades to Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena, and the addition of a new 5,000-seat Show Court Arena and the dedicated state of the art conference and events venue, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park.

The Melbourne Park Redevelopment commenced in 2010 and has taken place over three stages, generating more than 2,300 full-time jobs in that time.

Transforming the Rod Laver Arena Experience

The refurbishment of Rod Laver Arena, home of the Australian Open and host to world-class music and entertainment events, was one of the most exciting elements of the redevelopment.

The arena’s backstage has been improved, more seats and new entry stairs have been added, and the loading dock reconfigured.

Andrew Staedler, project director with Lendlease Building Contractors who managed the final stage of the redevelopment, said it’s a game changer for Victoria’s entertainment capability. “From being able to only fit six semitrailers to now 30 semitrailers in the loading dock is significant,” he said.

“Madonna brought 32 semitrailers and took six days to set up and six days to pack up before the redevelopment. After the redevelopment, Kendrick Lamar brought 36 semitrailers of gear and he bumped in in a day and bumped out in just four hours.

“You could argue they have 10 extra days to sell concert tickets because of the new loading dock,” he said.

The venue’s roof structure can now support 100 tonnes of equipment to enable more extravagant performances.

“That’s from Beyonce wanting a screen that follows her down the catwalk, all the way to speakers, lighting and a trapeze for people to swing on,” he said.

“The redevelopment has really enabled Rod Laver Arena to be a great venue and a very attractive venue for performers, and the beneficiaries of that are members of the Melbourne public.”

Delivering quality experiences for all

Across Melbourne Park, the redevelopment has expanded capability and flexibility to host both grand and intimate experiences for visitors. That includes catering to tennis fans and the every-growing popularity of the Australia Open.

Adjacent to Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena has gained an additional 1,500 seats, a retractable roof that takes less than five minutes to open and close, and an enclosed foyer.

Show Court Arena was constructed between Rod Laver Arena and John Cain Arena with seating for 5,000 people. The arena’s roof is made from 270 tonnes of steel fabricated in Victoria, supporting local business and employment.

Tennis HQ, an eight-storey building has also been added and provides administrative facilities for Melbourne and Olympic Parks and Tennis Australia.

Completing the project, is CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park, a dedicated conference and events venue at the heart of the Melbourne & Olympic Parks precinct. It features over 4,500 sqm of completely customisable space across three levels with views of Melbourne city skyline, anchored by a pillarless Grand Hall, which can host up to 3,000 guests.

In addition, it includes indoor and outdoor pre-event spaces, purpose-built broadcast studios that double as intimate event and meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art production kitchen and a 250-seat auditorium.

“It can be used seven days a week, because if it’s not being used during a tennis event or a concert, it can be used for corporate functions such as annual general meetings or team building sessions,” Mr Staedler said.

As well as delivering an even better experience for Victorians, the new and improved precinct will support Melbourne’s tourism and hospitality industry as more people travel to Victoria to attend major events.

The vision and support for the Melbourne Park Redevelopment was provided by Development Victoria, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Tennis Australia and Melbourne & Olympic Parks.

Page last updated 24 Jun 2022
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