The 509 Williamstown Road site purchased by Council is adjacent to popular North Port Oval, and currently occupied by Australia Post’s Port Melbourne Business Centre, which is set to be relocated nearby. The 15,000-square-metre site will then make way for public space and a modern sport and broader recreation facility.
Fishermans Bend is Australia’s largest urban renewal area and is projected to be home to 80,000 residents and 80,000 workers by 2050. Already, there are more than 10,000 housing unit developments delivered, approved, underway or for which planning approvals are being sought.
“This future-proofing investment will allow the Fishermans Bend community to enjoy sport, walk their dogs or simply relax under a tree,” Mayor Heather Cunsolo said. “We want to create a special space that helps Australia’s largest urban renewal project live up to its amazing potential.”
A decision on exactly how the strategic acquisition will be used will be informed by a community consultation. Feedback will be sought from residents and stakeholders including local sporting groups.
As well as delivering critically needed open space, this is an anchor site that can unlock the potential for a sport and recreation precinct to be created for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come.
The precinct could expand from the existing North Port Oval to include the Australia Post site and, in time, incorporate, the adjoining Bunnings and DHL sites. Bertie Street could also be closed and included in the precinct as new open space.
The vision for the precinct and Council’s purchase of the site aligns with the Victorian Government’s draft Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area Development Contributions Plan | Engage Victoria
Recently released for community consultation, the draft DCP sets out how development contributions, which go to the Victorian Government, will be allocated in Fishermans Bend for infrastructure such as open space including at this site.
“Our Council welcomes the Victorian Government ear-marking the site as open space in the draft Development Contributions Plan. We are looking forward to having talks about the transformation of this strategic site as part of overall discussions about a Masterplan for the precinct.” Cr Cunsolo said.
A preliminary submission was endorsed at the 6 December Port Phillip Council Meeting and Cr Cunsolo is encouraging residents to participate by making their own submissions. An independent committee will consider submissions on the DCP when the Government’s consultation ends in February.
An independent valuation was undertaken as part of the Council’s due diligence before the purchase. The agreed price is within that valuation and, per square metre, is less than half the price paid about seven years ago for land to develop Kirrip Park in South Melbourne. Cr Cunsolo said the Council weighed every option before making a successful offer of $38.8 million (excluding GST) for the site.
The sale provides for the Australia Post Port Melbourne Business Centre to maintain operations for its customers while arrangements are made over the next one to two years to transition the facility to a new location.
Council is also making progress with broader land acquisition priorities including in the Balaclava and St Kilda East areas, with more news on this in coming months.