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Government’s $4.5 million upgrades to reinvigorate Sydney and Melbourne Buildings

By Lachlan Roberts 15 February 2019 76

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings have undergone renovations. Photo: George Tsotsos

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.”


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48 Responses to
Government’s $4.5 million upgrades to reinvigorate Sydney and Melbourne Buildings
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9:48 pm 18 Feb 19

I first saw these buildings in 1960, and they were the focal point of Civic. They deserve heritage TLC.

9:53 am 17 Feb 19

the pavers installed are already cracking and look like cheap knock offs from China

9:32 am 17 Feb 19

There is NO PARKING, how in the heck can those businesses have a chance. Its quite rediculous. Has nobody really thought about this. Time for some clevef solutions.

    12:43 pm 17 Feb 19

    Take a look. There is a bus interchange nearby. MUCH, MUCH more convenient than driving, finding a park and then having to pay much more for parking than the bus fare. As someone who usually catches the bus to go to Civic or Woden, I know how much more convenient it is. Driving a car there is a 'pain' compared to the bus. And when the tram is running that will be nearby too.

    6:34 pm 17 Feb 19

    Julie Macklin yes you are right, i catch a bus to work but going out with the family to eat is another matter..

9:14 am 17 Feb 19

Facelift? The path on one side has been done? The rest of the building is dirty, run down, different shades of decaying paint. In actual fact these buildings are a disgrace and an eye sore. More is needed to improve these old buildings but they are independently owned so the government can only up grade the foot path!

Maya123 11:06 pm 16 Feb 19

Imagine if the glass upstairs was removed from the upstairs verandah and a long balcony was created (might need to knock down some walls to get the flow through, as even though it looks like one building, it was actually built as separate shops, by I believe separate owners, and not built all together). Then it could be two levels of independent cafes and boutique shops. The courtyards could be cleaned up, tiles, decorated with sculptures and other artworks, for dining outside. Maybe in time even fully or partly glassed over. It would be wonderful. Not sure it will happen soon though.

10:45 pm 16 Feb 19

The raised bike path is a death trap in my mind - like The Rudd street one - off the road means out of sight for traffic. Even though bikes have right if way at the intersection, I’ve been cut off by cars more times in the last week than ever before

6:17 pm 16 Feb 19

I was only eating in East Row the other night and thought the whole building was dreadful. It - and West Row - should be revamped like the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, so that they are a source of pride and worthy of the heritage significance they hold for Canberra.

5:52 pm 16 Feb 19

Burmese curry place needs to come back

5:47 pm 16 Feb 19

4.5 million....i can't tell

5:33 pm 16 Feb 19

An extra 2 metres of pavement and some trees cost $4.5 mil. WTF

4:08 pm 16 Feb 19

Respect the iconic heritage value of the Melbourne and Sydney buildings and fix them up! (not just the footpath)!!

4:07 pm 16 Feb 19

The whole of Civic needs a bloody good wash.

4:06 pm 16 Feb 19

About bloody time.

11:44 am 16 Feb 19

We need things that are exciting to see and do in civic. What’s the point of painting a building but there nothing happening in it.

10:04 am 16 Feb 19

Is it safe for pedestrians to cross (and wait to cross) Northbourne Ave yet?

8:10 am 16 Feb 19

Total waste of money. Bulldoze them and build offices.

11:51 pm 15 Feb 19

Perhaps some one bedroom apartments could be squeezed in.

11:23 pm 15 Feb 19

Paint the buildings and put artworks, lighting or some form of pop ups in the empty shops until they are tenanted

11:14 pm 15 Feb 19

Have better landscaping on Northbourne Ave which does not encourage the large amount of weeds. The weeds are doing better than the plants, the cost involve in maintaining this type of landscaping is probably larger than the landscaping before the light rail.

10:12 pm 15 Feb 19

There is work going on inside the courtyard of the Sydney building. The back of some shops have been demolished and there are workmen there.

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