The heritage-listed Sydney and Melbourne buildings have undergone a $4.5 million revamp in the hope that the transformation will make the city centre a more pedestrian-friendly area and will reinvigorate the precinct.
The upgrades, which began in September last year, have reclaimed a section of the road verge on Northbourne Avenue and opened it up to pedestrians, with seating, lighting, and a new raised cycle path. The new precinct also provides more opportunities for outdoor dining, along with new landscaping to improve the overall look and feel of the area.
The upgrades will make it easier for people to move around and enjoy the new public space while making the area attractive for local bars and restaurants. The large median strip between the buildings has also been refurbished with new plants and flowers as well as new seating.
Minister for City Services Chris Steel believes the improvements will create a vibrant community feel and will make the city centre more attractive, safer and easier to get around.
“This is the most significant improvement work conducted on the Sydney and Melbourne Building precinct for a long time and we hope all Canberrans will enjoy our revitalised city centre,” Mr Steel said. “The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are an area of significant heritage for our city.
“These upgrades represent a substantial upgrade to the heart of our city.”
The City Renewal Authority said it welcomes the public space upgrades and will continue to work with stakeholders to further drive the revitalisation of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings.
The authority has also arranged for the iconic buildings to feature in Enlighten for the very first time in 2019. The facades along Northbourne Avenue will be illuminated by the artwork of local artist Hannah Quinlivan, which also features in glass panels of the new light rail stations.
These improvements to the Northbourne Avenue verges are complemented by the newly completed Alinga Street bus station expansion and the soon to open Alinga Street light rail stop.
“We are delivering an integrated transport network supported by an expanded interchange in the City for pedestrians, cyclists as well as bus and light rail commuters,” Mr Steel said.
“The work we have done on the Northbourne verges will improve access in the area and complement these new integrated transport facilities.”