This month the multi-stage evolution of Watergardens in Melbourne’s outer north-west gets underway, led by the introduction of a new $50m market-style food and dining precinct designed to reflect the area’s rich cultural diversity and love of good food.
Due to launch in mid-2020, The Marketplace is a vibrant new-to-trade-area offer encompassing over 5,000 square metres of transformed and repurposed retail space that is set to confirm Watergardens as a true destination for food, family and community.
Providing essential convenience alongside inspired new food retail and dining concepts, The Marketplace will host a range of local fresh food retailers alongside artisans and providores, globally inspired street food vendors and the suburb’s first Aldi supermarket.
“Melbourne is home to some of Australia’s most iconic food markets, and key to their continued success has been the incorporation of an engaging mix of on-site dining options,” says Luke Young, General Manager – Retail at QICGRE. “At Watergardens we’re creating a new community hub that allows residents of the north-west to experience that same vibrant marketplace energy, and call it their own.”
Blending culinary exploration with everyday staples, The Marketplace will give visitors the chance to purchase quality meats, seafood and poultry, artisan cheeses, handmade dumplings and much more.
Creating new common ground
“Through its people-centred design and insights-driven tenant mix, The Marketplace will leverage the unique power that food has to bring us together and open dialogue between different generations and cultures,” explains Young.
With the theatrical aspect of street food in mind, kiosks have been thoughtfully designed to encourage conversation with vendors, many of whom will have the chance to present an offer that is experiential, rather than purely transactional. This model will allow visitors to learn and interact, savouring the many delights on offer as they go.
The new development will also feature indoor and outdoor communal leisure spaces, entertainment zones and a dedicated children’s play area, and will host a range of family-friendly civic, cultural and commercial experiences including night markets, cooking demonstrations and live music events.
Designing with purpose
The design of the precinct represents a stark departure from the one-size-fits-all retail model of old, taking its cues from the human-driven art of hospitality rather than traditional shopping centre design principles.
Young says: “In line with our mission to create thriving town centres, this development is a clever repurposing of space within the shopping centre boundary and provides a sense of welcome along hospitality lines to reflect the way people in our community like to come together and connect through food.”
Connection with nature will be emphasised through the design, with the front façade opened up to expose the existing native trees outside and abundant greenery planted inside and out to further enhance the verdant, light-filled indoor-outdoor aesthetic of The Marketplace.
A region ripe with opportunity
Located 25 kilometres from the central business district, Taylors Lakes is at the centre of one of metropolitan Melbourne’s strongest growth corridors. With a main trade area population of over 160,000 and an average of 5,000 commuters entering Watergardens Station each weekday, Watergardens attracts around 10.8 million visitors each year and has firmly established itself as the beating heart of the Taylors Lakes lifestyle for over two decades.
This growth is only set to continue into the future; reports show that by 2026, more than 20 per cent of greater Melbourne’s 900,000 expected additional residents are projected to reside in the city’s west.
Augmenting these projections is the Victorian Government’s plan to create an additional 17 new suburbs in Melbourne in the coming years, eight of which will be located in the city’s north-west region. Along with this, it is expected the area will welcome up to 202,000 new jobs across a range of sectors and locations.
An epicentre for the west
Located on a developable 56-hectare site equivalent in size to one third of the Melbourne CBD, Watergardens is ideally positioned to evolve into a major civic and commercial hub for the north-west suburbs over the coming decades.
Daryl Stubbings, QICGRE Director – Australian Investment Management, says: “While the area is experiencing unprecedented growth, residents in the north-west have limited access to big city amenities. As a long-term community partner we have the opportunity to create a truly exceptional destination that speaks to the way that our community wants to live.”
As the area’s most significant social and retail hub, Watergardens has come to understand its community intimately; it knows that the spirit of the north-west suburbs contains a healthy dose of optimism and entrepreneurialism, and a willingness to embrace the new.
Home to 217 different nationalities and a comparatively youthful population, this family-driven community is both grounded and aspirational, which, combined with its common passion for food means there’s no better time than now to present an offer like The Marketplace.
Stubbings adds: “This milestone development signals our vision for an ever-evolving future city that supports the ambitious spirit of Melbourne’s north-west.”
Watergardens will remain open throughout the carefully staged construction of The Marketplace. Visit the Places page to find out more.