Melbourne’s most famous arena to get $240m revamp

Australian developer Lend Lease has been awarded a US$240m contract to refurbish Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, home of the famous Australian Open tennis tournament and the most popular music venue in the country.

The work, commissioned by the Victoria state government, will include seating that can be automatically deployed or retracted depending on the desired configuration of the stadium.

There will also be a more efficient loading bay to cut the set-up time between concerts, and a footbridge to improve access.

It is hoped that the upgraded arena will attract more international sports, including NHL hockey and US basketball.

Joe Kokai, Lend Lease’s general manager of building, said the refurbishment would "significantly transform one of Australia’s most prolific sports and entertainment venues". 

Sport minister John Eren said: "This redevelopment will cement Melbourne’s place as the sporting and events capital, creating a better experience for the many thousands of people who attend tennis and other events at Rod Laver."

Work will begin after the next Australian Open in January and be completed in 2018.

According to news reports, Lend Lease beat rival developers Brookfield Multiplex Constructions, Built, and Leighton Contractors to the work. It was also chosen for an earlier phase on the site, which included the construction of the Margaret Court Arena.

Photograph: The Rod Laver Arena is the venue for the Australian Open (Wikimedia Commons)

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