MELBOURNE is changing and Eddie McGuire wants to be the chief architect.
McGuire, the television presenter and president of AFL club Collingwood, wants to see a brand new $1 billion stadium built adjacent to the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground. The plan to build “Victoria Stadium”, complete with 60,000 seats and a retractable roof, would include demolishing Etihad Stadium, a long-maligned venue located a hop, skip and jump away at Docklands.
To make way for the new stadium, Hisense Arena would be moved down the road to the site occupied by Richmond railway station, which would go underground.
The Herald Sun first reported the plans to connect the MCG, AAMI Park and Melbourne Park — home of the Australian Open — to form one of the world’s greatest sporting hubs.
“It’s an alternative that is bigger than just a footy stadium. It gives us an opportunity to reshape and remodel Melbourne for the next 50 to 100 years,” McGuire told the newspaper.
City planners, developers, financiers and the Victorian Government have been briefed on the proposal. In a statement, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he welcomed the proposal.
“The MCG, Melbourne and Olympic Park stadiums are the envy of the world, but in a competitive market we can’t sit back and let others pass us by,” he said.
“I encourage fresh thinking and innovative ideas to enhance our sporting arenas. Eddie is a passionate Victorian with a love of our great game and a vision for our major sporting precinct.”
McGuire told the Today show on Wednesday morning it is “time to have a good look at these things are work it through”.
He said he envisaged the venue showcasing rugby league, rugby union, soccer and AFL matches, as well as major concert tours.
AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan is expected to comment on the proposal later on Wednesday.
The plan received a cheeky response from Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham, whose club has regularly clashed with the Magpies, including most recently over a late change to the location of their round one match.
“I wish they would stop moving the stadium’s (sic) around in Melbourne it is most inconvenient to our travel plans,” Pridham tweeted.
Eddie’s proposal also mixed reviews on social media. “I love Eddie McGuire, but this plan makes no sense to me whatsoever,” Brent Costelloe wrote on Twitter.
“Love BigEd’s Melbourne planning,” Justin Mall wrote. Eddie McGuire for PM.”
Ryan Buckland wrote: “Bold thinking, but completely crazy in practice.”