By Ellen Hill
A Melbourne businessman has bold new plans for Rebecca Walk, a largely abandoned row of bright red and orange pods tucked under the Flinders St Viaduct at Batman Park in the CBD.
Situated near some of Melbourne’s busiest attractions, Rebecca Walk was initially designed to bring foot traffic to the north bank of the Yarra River.
Despite the hive of activity surrounding it, the majority of retail space sits vacant, with only four out of 12 spaces tenanted.
Now, Arthur Zurcas plans to rejuvenate the area into the city’s “newest explosive food and entertainment hot spot”.
Under the proposed plan, the area is set to transform into a cultural hub, complete with an array of international street food vendors, entertainment, street art and an outdoor cinema. The existing pods will be replaced with purpose built micro-kitchens, and semi-permanent shipping containers, with the finished product also set to include an upstairs deck overlooking Batman Park.
Mr Zurcas thinks this is exactly what the area needs. “I believe there is a need for it, and I believe it would be good for all Melburnians and tourists,” Mr Zurcas said.
He wants Rebecca Walk to be a space where families can get back to basics, a place where “a family can go out and enjoy the food and enjoy each other’s company, talk about things, and get their kids to run around the park, and kick a footy.”
Asked whether his plan might fail, Mr Zurcas said the rejuvenation of the area would “be good for all of Melbourne”, and he was confident his design would not repeat mistakes made in the past.
“I hope [Rebecca Walk] will be a destination for Victorians and tourists. And hopefully it will be there for a long time to come for all to enjoy,” Mr Zurcas said.
Mr Zurcas would like to see Rebecca Walk up and running by spring this year. He hopes to shortly submit a planning application to City of Melbourne.
The area was created in 2010 as part of the Northbank Place development, where three, 11-storey, mixed-use towers were built by the Far East Consortium.
Mr Zurcas has spent his career in the hospitality industry running successful hotels and nightclubs in regional Victoria, including the Goulburn Valley Hotel in Shepparton.