The first stage of a $100 million project to restore Melbourne’s historic Flinders Street Station will begin next week.
Lighting will be improved and old signs removed, before work begins to repair the building’s crumbling exterior, heritage clock tower and leaky roof.
Toilets, platforms, pedestrian underpasses and information displays will also be modernised.
Major Projects Victoria is developing a business case for the station’s famed ballroom and other derelict parts of the building to see if they can be opened for commercial tenants.
The Salvation Army wants the State Government to consider using the ballroom as a craft market and crisis accommodation for the homeless.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the government would consider any proposals for future uses of the space.
“At this stage we’re not ruling anything in or out,” she said.
“The priority is getting the building restored.
“Once it’s restored, once it’s in a condition that can be used once again, we’ll have that work ready to go.”
The Salvation Army’s Major Brendan Nottle said the ballroom could be used to help the city’s homeless, asylum seekers and people with mental health conditions learn basic business skills.
“Many of those people have some amazing skills, often dormant, and we’d like to create an opportunity where there’s some sort of incubator where we can actually help nurture those skills,” he said.
“Melburnians seem to love a good craft market, so putting one right at the heart of the city could be something very positive and successful.”
The government has previously said it would talk to the private sector, universities and the City of Melbourne about possible uses for the space once the roof had been restored.