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International Entertainment Giant Told to Sell Prominent Former Moonee Ponds Market Site, Melbourne

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Written by Marc Pallisco   
Thursday, 23 August 2012 00:56

MOONEE Valley City Council has demanded international entertainment giant Reading Cinema sell a prime piece of Moonee Ponds land after it “wasted a one in 100 year building boom”.

The former Moonee Ponds Market in Hall Street, now an open air car park, was permitted in the mid-1990s to become a major $40 million cinema-based complex and shopping centre. So big was the proposal, rival Hoyts which manages cinemas at the nearby Highpoint Shopping Centre, challenged in court to halt the development.

In central Moonee Ponds, earmarked by planners as an Activity Centre, council says the site has the potential to be the suburb’s “pulsing heart”. It claims Reading Cinemas neglects the site it promised to replace with a landmark throughout the controversial planning and permit process.

In its 2009 annual report Reading Cinemas claimed it was finalising plans to redevelop the 3.3 hectare site, now a privately-managed open-air car park.

“Six months ago council spoke with Readings International management in the United States to warn them that our patience with this is wearing thin,” councillor Jim Cusack said. “Our community is all the poorer for having lost it’s much loved market and swapped it for this hole in the ground”.