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Jam Factory Redevelopment – Placemaking Vision


Melbourne, VIC - Newmark Capital and Gurner (2021)

Categories and services:

  • Placemaking Vision

  • Commercial Precincts

Image courtesy of Gurner

A catalyst project to spearhead the new Chapel Street transformation.

Recognised as a pioneer location of contemporary retail and a building enriched with historical elegance dating back to 1858, the Jam Factory and the precinct surrounding it is as iconic to Melbourne as they come. The buildings has had many owners and has gone through many different uses in its time. From a brewery, to jam producers, to a shopping complex. Currently the building is owned by Gurner/Qualitas and Newmark, and they have a vision to bring the area back to its former glory.


So what is the project? Gurner/Qualitas and Newmark developed a concept brief (with architectural plans prepared by Bates Smart) for a new precinct that aims to re-energise the Chapel street district and re-capture the essence and elegance that once pertained to the Jam Factory building. The development is to be delivered in three distinct portions. As part of stage 1, Newmark Capital and Gurner engaged Village Well to deliver a place thought approach to their exciting new precinct concept.


A place approach was needed due to impacts driven by the Covid crisis, and the shift towards contactless retail. This caused a decline in foot traffic which threatened the economic viability of the Jam Factory and the area surrounding it. Further, the precinct was failing to appeal to changing demographics of the area or adequately adapt to the future of a diverse multi-use offering. From this Village Well concluded that the precinct primarily needed an authentic heart with a civic space that provided multi-use destination offerings for locals and visitors alike. 


Village Well analysed global precedents and provided ground plane moves that informed the developers with the impact of place. They provided key urban design moves that would integrate the new Jam Factory with Chapel Street with a deliberate focus on permeability and activation. The strategy proposed activation and curation of successful day and night experiences within the precinct. More specifically they suggested providing community events, partnering with art and cultural institutions, allowing for clear and welcoming sight lines to the precinct and championing the heritage and historical aspect of the area. To ensure this strategy would progress beyond concept development, they engaged key internal stakeholders and undertook research into emerging demographics to support these proposals.


Village Well ended up with a carefully curated place story and a place vision that would ultimately influence the master plans through stage 2 and 3 of the development. Acting as a blueprint and first steps for how the new Jam Factory could emerge as a highly successful civic attractor. To help Chapel St regain its title as the fashion and lifestyle capital of Melbourne.

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