Final designs showcase vibrant Bridge Street redevelopment

Bridge Street redevelopment launch

The City of Ballarat has unveiled the final designs for the $15 million redevelopment of the mall precinct into a vibrant tree-lined destination, soon to be known as Bridge Street. 

The designs demonstrate how the magnificent Sturt Street gardens will extend into Grenville Street, creating a landscaped entry into Bridge Street – attracting shoppers, diners, residents and visitors – to meet and stay longer. 

The final designs reveal how one-way, low-speed vehicle access will create a shared streetscape, enabling vehicle movement through the area, where bollards will be used to block off vehicle access as needed, particularly for markets, festivals and events. 

The designs also demonstrate how smart street lighting, including façade projections, will use the buildings in Bridge Street as a canvas for creative activations. 

Preliminary works to transform the mall into Bridge Street are expected to begin this year with major civil works commencing 2023. Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months. 

As the major construction works begin next year, the mall will also revert to its original name of Bridge Street. 

The redevelopment will provide an economic stimulus to the precinct that will then work to attract new traders, further investment and encourage the restoration and maintenance of Ballarat’s historic buildings and architecture. 

Key design features of the $15 million Bridge Street revitalisation, fully-funded by the City of Ballarat, include: 

  • A new play space for children of all ages 

  • A portal that showcases the Yarrowee River flowing underneath the street 

  • Outdoor dining opportunities 

  • Event friendly spaces – available for markets, festivities and special events 

  • Connections to the Yarrowee River, Canadian Creek trails and Sturt Street shared path - encouraging walkers and cyclists 

  • First Nations’ stories embedded into the streetscape 

  • New street furniture and bluestone paving 

Landscape architects Hassell developed the final designs for the precinct after extensive consultation with the community, traders, landowners and other special interest groups. 

The concept design for the play space delivers a key drawcard for families and carers, encouraging more people to meet, stay and play. 

Inspired by a bridge-like structure, the play space provides multiple levels of access, challenge and playful adventure for children of all abilities.  

The play space protects children with a barrier integrated into the design, providing a secure zone for play and exploration. It can also be illuminated, helping to transform the precinct after dusk.  

The concept design for this specialist piece of the project will continue to be refined in the coming months. We will be seeking input from the community and the traders to finalise this design. 

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said the final designs will deliver a revitalised precinct that will provide an economic boost to Bridge Street, attracting residents, visitors, new traders and further investment. 

“These vibrant final designs respond to the community’s calls for the precinct to become a thriving destination,” he said. 

“As part of the City of Ballarat’s $15 million investment, we are delivering landscaping, smart lighting, a fantastic play space, greater alfresco and event space – which all work together to encourage people to visit the area and stay longer. 

“We look forward to getting on with the works in 2023 to bring Bridge Street into the future.” 

The designs address the concerns of the community and traders around the need for change, a stronger historical presence, and to encourage movement to, through and within the Bakery Hill precinct. 

Bridge Mall Traders Association President Wendy McLachlan said traders are looking forward to the future of Bridge Street - especially the landscaping which will beautify the area. 

“The time has come to embark on this redevelopment,” she said. 

“It's important we create a vibrant go-to destination for retail. We want to attract new retailers, restaurants and cafes to the precinct." 

The designs also promote a stronger connection between the Yarrowee River and Ballarat’s Indigenous heritage. 

Hassell worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to ensure cultural elements were reflected in these designs.  

As a result, an arch symbol, representing Wadawurrung People gathering will be embedded in the pavement while a portal will provide a window and a connection to the Yarrowee River, a significant cultural landscape, flowing below.  

The designs also draw from the name ‘Ballaarat’, which means ‘resting place’ or ‘bended elbow’, encouraging people to slow down, gather and connect with one another. 

“The Yarrowee is a special place to our Wadawurrung Country and People, with years of history both culturally and contemporary,” Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation representative Stephanie Skinner said. 

“It is great to see our yaluk (translation: creek or watercourse) being celebrated in these designs, and enabling the Ballarat community to connect to it through play and celebration.” 

Hassell Principal Mark Haycox said the details for Bridge Street and its relationship with Grenville Street and Sturt Street are the first part of a broad implementation program for the precinct that will take place over time. 

“The design proposed can be a foundation for a renewed – thriving, distinctive and connected place – it’s about people slowing down and meeting friends and family in a well-loved Ballarat locale,” he said. 

“It’s also about visitors to the city engaging a diverse range of new vibrant experiences that express the authentic nature and character of Ballarat.” 

The initial concept designs were endorsed by the City of Ballarat Council on 24 November 2021. These were used to complete the detailed final designs, cost planning and enable the next phase of capital work tendering.  

The $15 million budget covers upgrades to the mall between Grenville and Peel Streets, Grenville Street between Curtis and Little Bridge Street, with minor access and safety improvements to pockets of Little Bridge Street. 

The City of Ballarat will continue to seek future funding for the implementation of the full vision for the precinct plans. 

View the designs at or visit the City of Ballarat shop in Coliseum Walk, Bridge Mall.