After almost 30 years as one of the world’s favourite sports and entertainment venues, Rod Laver Arena is getting a bold new makeover that will ensure it continues to host the best events in Australia.
The multi-million dollar refurbishment, part of the $700+ million Melbourne Park Redevelopment project, will significantly enhance every aspect of the customer experience and rejuvenate the external design of the iconic venue.
A suite of new developments are aimed directly at improving the event experience for patrons, including:
- A striking new eastern annex which will be become the main public entrance to the arena and provide new public amenities.
- New food and beverage outlets that will cater for a wide variety of dining options, including outlets on the floor level providing patrons with easier access to food and drinks during shows.
- Upgraded bathroom facilities with more toilets, including a Changing Places toilet to cater for patrons with disabilities.
- Increased disability access including universal access to the seating bowl.
Patrons, promoters and hirers are set to be big winners from significant back-of-house improvements that will allow bigger and better shows to come to the arena:
- A larger, more efficient loading bay that will allow concerts to be set up faster and increase the number of shows.
- Increased rigging capacity and back-of-house improvements to accommodate promoters and hirers bringing the largest blockbuster shows to the arena.
Four building contractors have been selected to tender for the works: Brookfield Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd, Built Pty Ltd, Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd, and Lend Lease Building Contractors Pty Ltd.
The construction contract is expected to be awarded by October 2015 with work scheduled to start in February 2016, following the Australian Open.
Rod Laver Arena will remain operational throughout the refurbishment. The upgraded areas and new extensions to the arena will be opened progressively over the four years of construction with completion expected in 2020.
The Rod Laver Arena upgrade is part of the $338 million second stage of the Melbourne Park redevelopment which will further enhance Melbourne’s world class sporting precinct. Other elements of Stage 2 include:
- a pedestrian bridge over Batman Avenue creating a new gateway from the heart of Melbourne to Melbourne Park; and,
- new eight storey Media Building that will provide media and broadcast facilities for the Australian Open and house staff from Melbourne & Olympic Parks and Tennis Australia (currently under construction).
Stage 2 of the project is expected to create 1300 FTE construction jobs from 2015-2020 and boost the Victorian economy by $164 million from construction. Melbourne Park currently hosts over 200 events a year, providing $421 million in economic benefit to the State and creating 3,140 FTE jobs.
The refurbishment amounts to the first major construction work to take place at Rod Laver Arena since it first opened to the Victorian public in 1988.
In that time the arena has established itself as a much-loved venue both in Australia and internationally. Its remarkable versatility has been evidenced in the array of events it has held over the years – from rodeos and dirt bike demonstrations, gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, swimming, family shows, concerts and of course the Australian Open tennis.