Macquarie House redevelopment underway

Published on 26 July 2018

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Construction has begun this week on a major redevelopment of one of Launceston's most historic buildings.

Originally built in 1829-30, Macquarie House will be transformed into an innovation, entrepreneurship and technology hub.

Macquarie House was integral to the success of the first settlement of Melbourne and was the place where the provisions were housed and planning was undertaken in advance of that venture.

The $4m innovation hub redevelopment is supported by the Launceston City Deal and has been envisioned as a world class co-working space, with construction work being undertaken by Vos Construction and Joinery.

Designed and managed to advance entrepreneurialism in the technology, digital and creative industries, the redevelopment will cater to freelancers, start-up companies and early career professionals.

The four-level sandstone brick building will be restored and refurbished under the project, taking it back to its original open floor configuration.

The construction of a new extension at the rear of the building will allow the installation of amenities, service ducts, a stairway and lift access.

Vos Construction and Joinery has mobilised on site this week ahead of what is expected to be a nine-month construction program.

The fountain at the Charles St entrance to Civic Square has been drained and deactivated ahead of the construction work, and will not be operational until the redevelopment is complete.

Public toilets currently located beneath Macquarie House will no longer be available, but the amenities in the Town Hall's Customer Service Centre are available as an alternative nearby.

The Council has proposed incorporating new public toilets into the Macquarie House redevelopment itself, rather than a standalone building as originally planned, and is awaiting the outcome of the planning process. Public representations on that proposal closed this week.

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the commencement of works on the Macquarie House redevelopment was yet another exciting development for the city.

"This project has been a long time in the planning and it's great to see work underway," Mayor van Zetten said.

"It will be great to see the innovation hub up and running because we have some fantastic communities of innovators and technology enthusiasts right here in Launceston who are going to be able to make great use of this space.

"It will be a place where people can meet other like-minded innovators, get access to new resources and experts, and a place that will create new pathways for potential start-ups and new businesses.

"Importantly, it will breathe new life into one of Launceston's most historic buildings and once again see its doors open with a renewed purpose."