Development Victoria is seeking a joint venture partner or consortia to replace a collection of central Dandenong sites, many of which were compulsorily acquired as part of an urban renewal project first proposed nearly 20 years ago following the introduction of the contentious – and redundant – Melbourne 2030 planning policy.
The parcels, covering a total area of 1.9 hectares, are expected to make way for large scale commercial, residential and retail projects.
Conference and function facilities, student accommodation, health and medical buildings and an entertainment precinct are other development outcomes the state government would like to see.
Dandenong, often marketed as “Melbourne’s second city” is about 35 kilometres south-east of the CBD.
It currently employs about 17,000 workers within office, retail, education, health and community facilities. The wider region, incorporating Dandenong South, accommodates a sophisticated industrial sector, said to be the most expensive in which to buy or rent, outside of the inner-city.
“The Victorian government is calling for expressions of interest from developers to transform a significant site in Dandenong, as part of the Revitalising Central Dandenong urban renewal project,” Development Victoria said upon listing the building blocks today. “The land, next to Dandenong Railway Station, presents an opportunity to create a vibrant mixed-use precinct, further enhancing the city’s reputation as a great place to live and work”.
The offering includes the Little India precinct, which the government said is Melbourne’s longest-standing cluster of Indian culture and commerce.
“The redevelopment guidelines require the proponent to respect the cultural significance of Little India and ensure that new retail and hospitality spaces incorporate Indian cultural themes.
“Development Victoria will work with the successful developer to ensure local traders and the wider community are consulted during the design process”.
The land is bound by Halpin Way, Cheltenham Road and the train station.
It is expected the private sector will invest up to $100 million for the works. The state government said its contribution to the Revitalising Dandenong Project is about $290 million, enabling close to $700 million in private investment to date including the State Government Services Hub and Quest Apartments complex.
Subject to a developer being appointed in 2020, construction to replace the 1.9 hectares of land it is now releasing, would start in 2023.
The state government will deliver the project in collaboration with the City of Greater Dandenong.
About 16 years ago, the local council sought the advice of private sector researchers and planners – including this reporter, real estate agents and developers, to revitalise the suburb. Central Dandenong was fragmented, with small sites owned by individual investors, many who had let their properties become rundown.
In particular, the council was keen to improve the flow of pedestrian traffic from the Dandenong train station to the Dandenong Plaza shopping centre, about a kilometre away, on the Princes Highway (a row known as Lonsdale Street as it passes through the suburb).
Over subsequent years, the government compulsorily acquired numerous smaller sites to amalgamate, creating bigger development-friendly parcels, some of which have since been replaced with landmark buildings.
The suburb is now identified by a skyline, including a new commercial building for the Australian Taxation Office, a Civic Centre and a Punt Hill residential hotel.
An expressions of interest campaign, which closes on August 5, represents the first stage of a three-staged transaction process, the brokers said.
At the end of the transaction process, Development Victoria will enter a formal agreement with the successful developer or consortia to deliver the mixed-use projects.