Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station is to get a $100 million upgrade to make it “more functional for passengers”, the Victorian government announced this week.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the restoration work to be completed by 2019 would fix the station’s exterior and leaking roof, while entrances, pedestrian underpasses and signage will also be improved.
Mr Andrews described the current state of the station as “an embarrassment”.
“This is a grand old building that has been allowed to really crumble,” he added.
“We’re going to drag this facility into the 21st century, but also preserve it and return it to its glory days as an icon of our great city.”
A business case is also to be developed for the station’s dilapidated ballroom and other derelict interior areas in order to attract commercial tenants.
Mr Andrews said the government would discuss potential collaborations with the private sector, universities and the City of Melbourne for utilising the station’s interior spaces once the roof had been restored.
The Andrews government shelved the former Napthine government’s plan to transform the iconic station guided by the winning Swiss design of a $1 million international design competition.
Melbourne conservation architect Arthur Andronas – who was part of Zaha Hadid’s consortium proposal for the 2013 competition – told Neos Kosmos he welcomed the news that the building will finally get attention.
“I’m pleased something is going to be done, they’re looking at two aspects; the heritage building component on the one hand, and the public transport infrastructure and amenities on the other. Both need urgent work,” said Mr Andronas.
Asked if the previous government’s approach to transforming the station was over ambitious, Mr Andronas said both approaches were legitimate.
“The previous government tried to find a way to make the whole project a viable solution, but also it was about putting Melbourne on the map architecturally.
“From the public’s point of view I think this is a much more acceptable solution.”
Victorian Opposition spokesman David Hodgett described the proposed funding as “little more than a band-aid solution”.
“To patch a roof and give it a lick of paint is hardly what I’d call deserving of this iconic building,” Mr Hodgett said, adding that the figure proposed by Labor represented only 5 per cent of the total cost of a proper refurbishment.