Work is well underway on the $363 million Stage One of the Melbourne Park redevelopment project, designed to secure the future of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Expected to be finished in 2015, Stage One includes a huge water tank underneath The Oval (now completed) and upgrades Margaret Court Arena with a new retractable roof and additional seating to increase crowd capacity to 7,500.
Passers by may have also noticed the large construction area on the eastern side of Hisense Arena (Eastern Plaza), which includes the extension of the pedestrian bridge from the MCG right across Olympic Boulevard to AAMI Park. The Eastern Plaza also includes;
- Eight new indoor tennis courts and 13 new outdoor courts;
- Warm up and warm down facilities for athletes;
- An elevated plaza providing new public space and a new eastern entry to Hisense Arena;
- A new landscaped entrance to Melbourne Park on Olympic Boulevard;
- 1,000 car spaces and up to 30 bus parks over two levels;
- An upgraded western entry to Hisense Arena
The preferred tenderer for the Eastern Plaza project is Watpac Limited.
Eastern Plaza, June 2012
The new National Tennis Centre is taking shape. Passers by will notice the indoor court and gymnasium structure and the palm trees now in place.
Western Precinct, January 2012
Melbourne will be the world’s first Grand Slam tennis venue to have three feature courts with operable roofs. The new design for Melbourne Park’s Western Precinct includes a redeveloped Margaret Court Arena with an operable roof and increased capacity by 1,500 to 7,500.
It will also include the addition of a new indoor concourse area that facilitates an improved patron experience including greater shade and rain protection and new foyer spaces that are light and airy.
The internal connections shared with Rod Laver Arena will also make it easier for people to get around, especially during major events such as the Australian Open. Spectacular views of the city skyline are also a feature, along with a timber feature wall has shapes cut out of it to mimic the trajectory of a bouncing ball.
The architects NH Architecture and Populous' clever work takes an existing open air arena and creates a totally new facility.
Eastern Plaza works, September 2011
As well as extending the life of Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court and Hisense Arena, the $363 million investment will also help open up opportunities for other sports, such as netball and basketball, as well as concerts and other events. Work will be staged in such a way that the Australian Open will continue to function successfully for the duration of the project.
According to Russell Caplan, Chairman, Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, the Melbourne Park redevelopment and completion of AAMI Park cements Melbourne & Olympic Parks' position as "Australia’s number one sport and entertainment precinct.”
The first stage alone is the largest Government-funded sports facility project ever seen in Victoria, bigger than the 1956 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Improving and updating the network of sporting infrastructure is a key factor in Melbourne’s reputation as the sporting events capital of the world. The subsequent stages to be built over the next 15 years will totally revitalise Melbourne Park, providing significant improvements to pedestrian connectivity and amenity.
View more information and photos on the official Melbourne Park website >>