Council sells prominent car park for museum

The 1000 square metre Durham Road plot council is selling with conditions.

A Melbourne council representing a community where over a sixth of the population is Vietnamese is selling a piece of a prime car park for a “nationally significant cultural museum”.

The proposed five level Vietnamese Museum Australia at Sunshine.

Brimbank City Council and Vietnamese Museum Australia Ltd (VMA) struck the deal direct for the 1000 square metre plot: 119-125 Durham Road, near the suburb’s train station – set to be a stop for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

Museum construction costs have been estimated at c$18 million.

The buyer must now obtain a development permit and appoint a builder for the five level building; it has the $18 million to cover costs, including $10m from the federal government and $6m from the state.

The land will be rezoned for civic purposes an initial 50 years (though council can review this after 30).

The local government can also buy the land back for 90 per cent of the sale price less costs if building doesn’t get out of the ground.

Sunshine, promoted in recent years as the capital of the west, has been a major activity centre by both state government planning departments for decades, with office, hotel and high-density residential development becoming more prominent.

Vietnamese Museum: a “significant drawcard”

Vietnamese is Brimbank’s biggest ancestry – with 32,000 people, or 17 per cent of the population, a council spokesperson said.

“Our Vietnamese community can particularly be experienced when visiting the Sunshine and St Albans activity centres,” they added.

“The proposed museum will build on the shared vision between Council and the State Government to transform Sunshine into the CBD of Melbourne’s west (story continues below).

Wyndham City Council recently bought an ex-theatre in Werribee.

“In addition to the museum, council plans to proceed with the design of a ‘Welcome Plaza’ on…land adjacent to the VMA site, which will celebrate all refugee and multicultural communities that call Brimbank home.

“The location of the nationally significant museum next to Sunshine Station, is a major step in building the ‘visitor economy’ for Sunshine CBD, off the back of the planned Melbourne Airport Rail (SRL Airport), and along with four hotels with planning approval (one 90-bed hotel already commenced construction) within walking distance of Sunshine Station.

“The state government has committed $143m for the constriction of stage one of its Station Masterplan and is proposed to be directly connected to the Melbourne Airport Rail, with the $10-13 billion project recently recommitted to by the commonwealth government following the federal infrastructure review”.

Another council deal

Brimbank mayor, Cr Ranka Rasic, said the municipality is one of Victoria’s most diverse “and this museum will be a significant drawcard”.

“It’s time for the Melbourne Airport Rail, including Sunshine and Albio station works committed to by the state and federal governments, to start,” she added.

“We need this infrastructure to support large numbers of people who will want to come, visit and stay in Sunshine if we are going to make the most of this exciting opportunity,” according to the local politician.

The deal comes a month since we reported the Wyndham Council outlaid $4.4m for a 1928 picture theatre – presently occupied as a Cash Converters – in central Werribee, for community use.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of