Multi-Use Facility at 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick

Project background

The 33 Saxon Street site in the heart of the Brunswick Civic and Cultural Precinct includes a large 1970s school building, a heritage house, old stables and public open space.

Council purchased the site in 2010 to use as a compound while the Brunswick Baths were being redeveloped.

The site is currently being used temporarily as a community space and art gallery. See current use of the site for further details.

Council now wants to determine the long-term use and development of the site.

A Strategic Framework for future use and development of the site

33 Saxon Street BrunswickOn 9 August 2017, Council endorsed a Strategic Framework for the site to assist decision making on the future use and development of the site. The Strategic Framework sets out Council’s principles and priorities for the facility and is the foundation for how the site will be used beyond 2021.


Requirements for future use

The future use and development of the site needs to adhere to the following requirements:

  1. The site will be an open and shared space welcoming a diversity of people and ‘best fit’ complementary uses.
  2. The site will be multi-use and future tenants and users will reflect the needs and priorities of the community.
  3. Brunswick lacks public open space and Council is committed to providing public open space at 33 Saxon Street in Brunswick. The process will lead to upgrading and possibly expanding the current public open space area which may be earmarked for a variety of uses. These could include an area for passive use, a children's play area, for outdoor fitness classes and activities, for outdoor events and exhibitions, and possibly a community garden.
  4. All heritage values will be respected and current assessment is that the heritage house must remain on the site.

The Framework is based on research, including the Brunswick Civic and Cultural Precinct Feasibility Study (2014) and the Strategic Assessment of Community Needs and Opportunities for Saxon Street and the broader Civic and Cultural Precinct (2017).

Potential uses for Concept Planning Stage

In June 2018 Council endorsed the potential uses, services and features to be included in the Saxon Street multi-use community facility. These assessments revisited the Sociologic strategic needs assessment findings, carefully considered the community feedback received, and refined the recommendations to be tested in the concept planning stage.

These potential uses were included in the design brief for the development of the concept plans and full detail can be viewed in the 13 June 2018 Council Report (PDF 27Kb).

Concept Plan options

33 Saxon Street Brunswick

Three concept design options were developed in collaboration with Council and each option varied in intensity of site use and potential for financial self-sufficiency. In August 2018, Council endorsed the three concepts to be released for community consultation.

In summary the concepts included the following variables within the site parameters:

  • The extent and location of future open space;
  • Low, medium and high built form interventions to existing buildings and newly proposed building elements; and
  • Different extents of potential demolition works.

The Council Report 8 August 2018 (PDF 34Kb) provides full details of the original concept designs.

The endorsed concept

Council’s internal working group and Project Board considered the community feedback that was received throughout August and September and option C was then further developed by Council’s external Consultant team on the basis that:

  • Option C can generate the income required to support a financially sustainable site (based on the proposed financial operational model). This option delivers Strategic Objective Two from the Strategic Framework which is to "Carefully manage the draw on Council’s limited rates-raised budget to develop a multi-use facility at the site".
  • There is alignment in achieving Council’s key priorities as outlined the following adopted strategies/policies:
    • Urban Heat Island Effect Action Plan 2016/2017 – 2025/2026
    • Cooling the Upfield Corridor’ Plan 2018-29
    • A Park Close to Home 2017
    • The Moreland Arts Infrastructure Plan 2018-23 (by contributing to the success of the Brunswick Arts Cluster by delivering and utilising new infrastructure in the public realm to support outdoor performances)
    • Complimenting and contributing to the evolution of the Brunswick Design District
    • Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) local planning policy
    • Urban Forest Strategy 2017-26 and
    • Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-21.

View the site plans, site layout and artist impressions (PDF 6Mb).

Key features

The key features of the endorsed concept are detailed below:

  • A reconfigured ‘right of way’ access to the Brunswick Baths services area
  • A new entry address will be created for the heritage listed ‘Sherwood House’ on Saxon Street
  • The public open space is increased and enhanced and is proposed at 2,751 square metres
  • The connection to Brunswick Baths can be enhanced with a porous fence treatment that allows for views of the pool and sound to travel between the two sites
  • Creation of 2,614 square metres of commercial space for future tenancy
  • The entire school building on Phoenix Street would be demolished
  • Views of the Sherwood House would be opened up along both Saxon Street and Phoenix Street
  • A community use building would be created on the North West corner and the proposed floorplans include occasional childcare space for 22 children, multi-purpose community rooms, office space and a multi-purpose outdoor roof space
  • A 5-storey building is created at the south of the site which could incorporate a variety of uses including community, creative and commercial tenants. The current gallery would be removed and replaced with a similar sized exhibition space/gallery and adjoining multi-purpose space, and
  • A double height commercial café would be added at the non-heritage rear of the Sherwood House. This could include an extended decking area to activate the interface with the public open space. An opportunity for a satellite café to be operational along the western interface with Brunswick Baths has been included and could serve YMCA members.

Council Report 12 December 2018 (PDF 6Mb) provides full details of the endorsed concept, the associated financial modelling and details about the next steps of the project.

Further information

If you would like to discuss the site and/or have any questions, please contact the Places Team on 9240 2221 or via email.

There are documents on this page in PDF-only format. If you have trouble opening or viewing a PDF document, contact Council and we will arrange to provide the information in a format that suits your needs. See Council's accessibility page for further details.