Victoria launches Mars Stadium construction tender ahead of CG2026

Mars Stadium

Featured image credit: Rooblu/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Victoria has officially launched the tender to carry out the AUS$150m revamp of the Australian state’s Mars Stadium, which will host track and field events at the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

An Advance Tender Notice (ATN) has been released for a main works contractor to complete the upgrade to the 11,000-capacity Ballarat venue, which is also the home ground of the Australian Football League’s (AFL) Western Bulldogs.

The $150m investment in the venue – also known as Eureka Stadium – will see a range of significant improvements, including an additional 5,000 permanent seats and a new athletics track.

“These upgrades will mean a bigger and better experience for spectators at Eureka Stadium in the years to come, ensuring Ballarat continues to attract major events,” read a statement issued by the Andrews Labor Government.

The ATN for main works at Mars Stadium, which opened in 1990, includes civil and earthworks, construction of athletics tracks, carparking, sports lighting and associated amenities. It will be followed by an Expression of Interest process opening in May 2023.

For the Commonwealth Games, additional temporary seats will be installed as well as a competition standard track on the existing playing field. During the Games some 18,000 temporary seats will be erected around the eastern and southern boundaries of the Stadium.

The existing Eastern Stand will be permanently expanded from 1,000 to 3,000 capacity, and a new permanent 3,000-seat stand will be built immediately south of the Eastern Stand.

Interested parties will be able to register via the Buying for Victoria website from which a shortlist of contractors will be invited to participate in a Request for Proposal process.

It is estimated the Games will contribute more than $3bn to Victoria’s economy, creating more than 7,500 jobs before, during and after the Games.

Jacinta Allan, Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery, said: “This is a unique opportunity for the construction industry to get involved in the delivery of the venue, generating local jobs and contributing billions of dollars into Victoria’s economy.”

The state government announced recently that Cox Architecture will partner with Ballarat-based Morton + Co Architects to lead the Mars Stadium project from concept design phase through to detailed design and construction.

Victoria was awarded hosting rights to the Games in April 2022. The 2026 event will be held across five towns and cities, marking the first-ever multi-location edition of the Games.

The opening ceremony is set to be held at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the host-city list also featuring Geelong, Bendigo and Gippsland.