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Redeveloping 33 Saxon St, Brunswick

20 Feb 2023

Image depicts an artist's impression of the new 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick. The old heritage school building sits in the middle of the image. Two new structures are to the left and right of the school building. Gum trees and foliage sit at the forefront.

33 Saxon Street is well known to our community, it is a much-loved community and creative space in the heart of Brunswick. It is part of the Civic and Cultural Precinct and the Brunswick Design District. Siteworks and Blak Dot Gallery operated on the site until late 2022, and are expected back on the new site in 2024. 

Since 2016, Siteworks and Blak Dot Gallery have transformed the old school site at 33 Saxon Street into a vibrant creative and community hub. The site used to be a school and the buildings are old and were not built for the purpose they are currently being used for.

It's time to give it a makeover. We are going to redevelop 33 Saxon Street over the next few years to transform it into a state-of-the-art creative and community hub, with welcoming and affordable spaces for creatives, artists and the Brunswick community. 

Exciting things are coming to 33 Saxon Street

  • In November 2021, Merri-bek endorsed a final concept plan for the redevelopment of 33 Saxon Street.
  • The project design team is led by Kennedy Nolan Architects.
  • A planning permit application was lodged in late March 2022. Reference MPS/2022/194.
  • Council awarded a contract to build the new facility in December 2022. 
  • A planning permit was issued in January 2023.
  • We are planning to start the construction of the new project in 2023.
  • We expect the new project to be complete by the end of 2024.
  • Precinct Managers for the redeveloped site are contributing to the detailed design as well as planning for future users and tenants. These Are The Projects We Do Together (TPT) are the team who manage the current facility at 33 Saxon Street – Siteworks and are the endorsed Precinct Managers.
  • Council has also endorsed Blak Dot Gallery as operators of the new First Nations which will be built on site.
  • Council made an offer to relocate Brunswick Neighbourhood House to the redeveloped site. In late December 2021, the BNH wrote to Council declining the offer to relocate to 33 Saxon St and the Brunswick Baths, stating the offer and the site did not meet their needs.

Image: Final Concept Plan, Artists Impression looking west at 33 Saxon Street

What are the benefits of redeveloping this site?

Redevelopment of 33 Saxon Street will meet the growing needs of our community by creating approximately 3,500sqm of floorspace with opportunities for artists, community members and creative industries. It will be a welcoming, socially inclusive space that celebrates Merri-bek’s diversity, creativity and distinct culture.

The site will be managed by a Community Manager, who will be selected to operate the venue on behalf of Merri-bek Council and the community.  

Some of the key benefits of the redevelopment include:

  • A large (2,5000+ sqm) public open space, designed in consultation with the community. The space will host outdoor events, community recreation, and creative activities of the site.
  • Creative production spaces and a gallery exhibition space will be available for artists and creative organisations to lease with subsidised rent.
  • Space for a commercial cafe or hospitality business.
  • A new creative and community-use facility that will house Maternal and Child Health facilities, multipurpose community rooms, and commercial office space.
  • Improved connection and access between the site and Brunswick Baths

How is the site used currently?

The site at 33 Saxon Street used to be a school and includes a large old school building, a heritage house, and a public open space.

We purchased the site in 2010 and in 2016 we contracted These are the Projects We Do Together to manage the site as Siteworks. Our partnership with them, and with leading First Nations contemporary art gallery Blak Dot, have transformed the place into a thriving arts and community hub. Their activation of the site to date has provided a vision for the future of 33 Saxon Street.

In 2017, we endorsed a Strategic Framework for the site to assist decision-making for future use and development. The Strategic Framework sets out our principles and priorities for the facility and is the foundation for how it will be used beyond 2021. It includes redeveloping with attention to:

  • Creating more affordable arts space
  • Increasing public open space
  • Including a variety of community uses
  • Creating a place to come together and build community

Project timeline

In 2018 after consultation with the community, we endorsed a concept plan for the redevelopment of the site including updates to the existing facilities, new buildings, and outdoor public space. In 2020 we reviewed the concept with consideration of the strategic framework alongside the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

A final design concept was endorsed by Council in November 2021. Planning was lodged in late March 2022 and a permit was issued in January 2023 (ref MPS/2022/194). It is expected that construction will commence in 2023 with a view to being complete by late 2024.

Reference Documents

Need more information?

Questions and comments can be emailed to or you can call us on 9240 2221

Visit Conversations Moreland website and stay up-to-date on how you can be part of this project.