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The historic Powerhouse building, adjacent car park and surrounds – situated on the banks of the Murray River in Mildura, Victoria – have been transformed into a vibrant cultural, community and commercial hub for locals and visitors to enjoy.
The redevelopment of the Powerhouse Precinct centred around adaptive reuse of the 1920s-built Powerhouse building complemented by new construction delivering flexible, multipurpose indoor and outdoor spaces for creative exhibitions, retail, hospitality and events; plus an events kitchen, food and beverage building, public amenities and landscaping.
Completed in September 2023, the revitalised precinct has quickly become a popular gathering point for the community. The project has created new jobs and boosted economic activity through tourism opportunities, food and beverage options, and a range of function venues for hire.
The fully government-funded Powerhouse Precinct Redevelopment project formed part of the overall Mildura Riverfront Precinct Redevelopment, a series of major public works projects to establish Mildura as Victoria’s most significant inland river city.
Bridge42 worked with Mildura Rural City Council since August 2020 on Stage 2 of the Mildura Riverfront Precinct Redevelopment Masterplan. We advocated for a people-based approach to the design and delivery of the project, and sought to inspire elevated aspirations for the precinct to unlock enhanced community and commercial benefits.
As Project Manager and Superintendent, we coordinated the day-to-day running of the project, managing the full project lifecycle, from initial project definition, design development and contractor procurement through to construction delivery.
We also provided Strategic Advisory services to help guide the final project vision and assist Council with critical operational decision making.
Key Outcomes and Value Added
- Project vision and definition: challenging the original project vision and design brief to realise the precinct’s ‘true potential’, supported by a thorough Gap Analysis and Operational Feasibility.
- Council representation and stakeholder influence: managing the preparation and implementation of a highly effective Stakeholder and Community Engagement Plan addressing several key stakeholder concerns, and built strong community support and participation.
- Budget and value management: leading value management exercises with the consultant team to identify opportunities to reduce scope and realign with the available budget.
- Project programming: staging project delivery to meet government funding requirements, including early works and main works packages, and ensuring future works / stages of Council’s masterplan were considered.
- Contractor procurement: leading a two-stage procurement (EOI and RFT) process, the head contract was awarded to Australian Indigenous construction and fitout company, Rork Projects.
- Risk mitigation: early identification of latent conditions and diligent risk management to avoid major cost blowouts and significant programme delays.
- Government funding grants: assisting with administering multiple funding arrangements, including structuring work packages to meet required milestones, while securing an additional $4m+ in grants.
- Environmentally sustainable design: proactively encouraging innovative and unique design and sustainability features.
Project Director Josh Farnworth, as the Project Lead, said:
“It’s truly rewarding to see the culmination of work from over the past three years being realised and providing so much enjoyment and value to the local community.
“There were certainly some unique challenges we managed in relation to the Powerhouse Precinct’s history and location, including the once-in-a-hundred-year flood incident at the end of 2022 which impacted the project!
“The project incorporated some unique design, sustainable development and circular economy features, such as the largest use of hemp masonry in a commercial build used in the walls of three new freestanding buildings.
“I have very much enjoyed working closely with Council, project partners and community stakeholders on the transformation of this revitalised precinct.”
Director-in-charge on the project, Bridge42 Director Daniel Miller, said:
“The Powerhouse Precinct Redevelopment was a very exciting project which allowed us to play a role in shaping and delivering this vibrant cultural, community and commercial hub for the city of Mildura.
“Innovative adaptive reuse of the historic Powerhouse building has ensured that the site will remain steeped in its rich history that is integral to the heritage of the Mildura riverfront.
“Thank you to Mildura Rural City Council for entrusting us to manage this iconic project.
“I also take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all the project partners involved in the highly collaborative delivery of this much-needed community and civic infrastructure.”