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New reasons to visit Harbour Town

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Planning Minister Richard Wynne visited Harbour Town on May 23 to announce a $150 million redevelopment to put Harbour Town back on the map.

An eight-screen Hoyts cinema will be built mid-2018 and Docklands’ first full-line Woolworths supermarket will arrive mid-2019.

Harbour Town will get a new name and brand before the end of this year.

Woolworths will anchor a brand-new 10,000sqm fresh food marketplace at the multi-deck Harbour Town car park, along with some unique fresh food shops.

An Asian hawker-style restaurant, a pancake house and a bowling and amusement arcade will join the Harbour Town dining and entertainment scene. The new site will be supported by existing attractions, including the Melbourne Star, O’Brien Group Arena and ArtVo.

The redevelopment will effectively create two distinct precincts at Harbour Town ­– entertainment and food.

Harbour Town will be rebranded with a new name and will get new international retailers to position the centre away from its discount outlet focus and become a full-price and upmarket-focused shopping centre.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the revamp plan could coherently connect Docklands to the rest of the City of Melbourne.

“This is a very rapidly growing area of the city … Docklands is one of the economic powerhouses of our city and, with this development, what we will see is a coherent whole that is connected to the city as a whole,” he said.

“I also think going back to the start, we made some mistakes down here in Docklands. One of them was, and evidence is here in Harbour Town, was distancing ourselves from the water rather than embracing the water … thinking of a series of very large installations rather than an experience that people could come down and take part in. And that’s the difference in this plan,” he said.

“What we want is a vibrant part of Melbourne that people flock to, that they use regularly and enjoy and they take to their hearts as well.”

“That’s why I’m so delighted to be here and I think we will be seeing some exciting things in the most exciting city here in Harbour Town over the next months and years.”

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the redevelopments would create social and economic boosts to Docklands.

“It lends the opportunity for a complete re-imagining of how this whole precinct is going to work over the next three to four years going forward,” he said.

“This is a fantastic investment. It’s an enormous vote of confidence in Melbourne and it speaks to what I think is going to be an amazing new precinct, not only for Melburnians, but also for people coming from interstate and overseas to this area.”

Mr Wynne also congratulated Hoyts for its commitment in the Docklands area and fondly recalled his very first job as a Hoyts lolly boy as a 15-year-old, saying it “turned full cycle” for him.

The new Hoyts cinema will exclusively feature reclining seats and Christie laser projected screens – a first in Australia.

The construction process will create 2000 jobs across the 8000sqm site.

Harbour Town owner Ashe Morgan’s principal, Alton Abrahams, said the redevelopment would create an “unparalleled” shopping and entertainment experience.

“We believe this development will become a new entertainment benchmark for Melbourne, with huge visitor drawing power due to a concentration of great brands and experiences uniquely found in one location,” Mr Abrahams said.

This article was originally published in Docklands News by Sunny Liu

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