Docklands to be transformed by $1.75 billion development

Melbourne's Docklands is set to undergo a $1.75 billion transformation expected to rival that of developments seen in Dubai, Singapore and New York.

Overview of Docklands and stadium precinct, with development site highlighted in gold.
The site (highlighted in gold) of a development that will transform inner Melbourne's Docklands precinct. (Image source:

A $1.75 billion retail and luxury accommodation development opposite Marvel Stadium is set to transform Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.

Developers Gurner said the city-defining mega-project that “will transform the last major site in Melbourne’s Docklands into a world-class mixed-use, botanical destination, at a scale to rival the awe-inspiring buildings of Singapore or New York and London”.

A degree of mystery surrounds the public centrepiece of the site, with Gurner CEO Tim Gurner saying “the public realm attraction, which will soon be revealed, will be a huge drawcard to the area and connect in with what will becomes Melbourne’s largest and most important wellness, recovery and performance centre, as well as a bustling mixed-use, retail and commercial precinct that will anchor the site, with multiple mixed-use towers floating above.”

The 18,000sq metre island infill site at 208-226 Harbour Esplanade is currently a large open-air car park.

The project is a joint venture between Gurner and City Harbour and will include 1,200 apartments in a mix of build-to-rent and build-to-sell residences, a 200-room hotel, wellness precinct, ground floor retail, commercial office space and upper floor hospitality venues.

Bordered by Wurundjeri Way, Dudley Street, La Trobe Street and Harbour Esplanade, the site will offer immediate Quay and harbour-front views.

High hopes

Mr Gurner, worth $929 million according to the 2022 Financial Review Rich List, has acquired a 50 per cent stake in the development.

The site forms part of a larger 4.4-hectare landholding opposite Marvel Stadium, acquired more than 20 years ago by the Liberman family-backed Digital Harbour consortium, which was rebranded as City Harbour last year.

“Our whole ethos is all about delivering product that pushes boundaries – and this landmark destination precinct will be no different; it will feel like you’re stepping into another world and experiencing something you didn’t think was possible in the built form,” Mr Gurner said.

Tim Gurner, CEO of project developers, Gurner

Tim Gurner, CEO of project developers, Gurner

“I’ve always loved the Docklands – I lived there with my wife for many years – and I always wanted to put my own stamp on it, but we needed a site that was large enough to be transformative – we’ll be creating a new world-class precinct, which will take the area to another level and put it on the world stage in terms of architecture, design and luxury property.

“The precinct will inspire a sense of adventure and wonderment in visitors – with more public amenities and interaction between architecture – so this will be like nothing people have experienced before, and certainly something never-before-seen in Melbourne.”

City Harbour Head of Development David Napier, also an investor, said the team will create “something unique that will redefine the Docklands and Melbourne.”

The revised plans are currently being finalised, with the team seeking to significantly improve and increase the size of the ground-floor public realm, with a focus on pedestrian circulation, public activation, lagoon-like greenery and communal shared spaces.

Plans are expected to be lodged with council later this year. The project will be delivered in three stages. Mr Gurner said he hoped to launch the first stage comprising build-to-rent and build-to-sell apartments by the third quarter of next year.

Other investors include Russell Nisbet’s family company, Serene Gold, Mr Napier’s Forty First Natro, Michael Kohn’s family company, Mat-Tastic, and investment manager Qualitas.

Melbourne-based Gurner has been active this year, opening a new office in Brisbane as well as entering Sydney and Adelaide's apartment markets. Gurner is also heading west to team up with Costa Property Group and Grange Development for a mixed-use project in the Perth’s affluent inner-west suburb of Nedlands.

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