Go ahead for $2 billion Moonee Valley Racecourse redevelopment

After years of planning hurdles and changes, the mixed-use redevelopment of the 135-year old Moonee Valley Racecourse is happening.

The Moonee Ponds project, about six kilometres north-west of the Melbourne CBD, has been branded Moonee Valley Park.

Upon completion in up to 15 years, about half of the 40 hectare Moonee Valley Racecourse site will be open for public use.

About a quarter of it will be replaced with housing.

Moonee Valley Park’s end value – set to include apartments, townhouses, offices, retail and community space – is speculated to be $2 billion.

Apartments will be developed at the western and north-eastern edge of a re-aligned Moonee Valley Racecourse track.

Who is behind the redevelopment?

In November 2017, Moonee Valley Racing Club announced it would co-develop the Moonee Ponds racetrack with:

  • Hostplus – a super fund, targeted to hospitality workers, and with funds under management worth about $44 billion;
  • Hamton Property Group – a Prahran-based commercial and residential builder directed by Paul Hameister.

What is proposed?

Moonee Valley Park is expected to take between 10 and 15 years to deliver.

Medium and high density apartment complexes are proposed at the north-east edge of the site, near the Tullamarine Freeway and Brunswick West border.

The western edge of the racecourse site, closest to the Moonee Ponds junction, is also earmarked for major residential buildings.

All up, some 2000 dwellings will accommodate about 4000 occupants.

Mr Hameister said about half of the 40-hectare site will be pedestrian-friendly, built around a botanical parkland.

Many of the apartments will offer unobstructed CBD views over the revamped racetrack, he added.

An existing street – Alexandra Avenue – will be beautified, creating a tree-lined connection from Moonee Valley Park to the eastern edge of the Puckle Street retail strip. Moonee Ponds train station is at the western edge of Puckle Street.

Moonee Valley Park will also contain shops, including restaurants, offices, community space and green space.

Apartments (left) and a new grandstand (centre) will be developed on Wilson Street. The Melbourne CBD is about six kilometres away.

A new grandstand will be developed at the site’s northern edge, fronting Wilson Street.

Traffic lights along Dean and Thomas streets would be installed as part of the redevelopment

“The Development Agreement that the club has entered into will see profits from this redevelopment invested into a new re-aligned racecourse that will have the home straight running east to west and a new state-of-the-art multi-purpose grandstand built on our northern boundary adjacent to Legends gaming venue,” MVRC chairman Don Casboult said of the redevelopment.

“The project will also see the club develop the racecourse infield for a diverse range of active and passive recreational activities for residents, club members and the local community. 

“Once the Club had entered into the Development Agreement, we commenced a process to select an architect to design our new Grandstand”.

The new racetrack will be 1702 metres – or 103 metre less than now. The home straight however will extended from 173 metres to 317 metres. The track will also be widened to increase the number of starters (currently 12).

Neighbourhood within a park

The redevelopment will make efficient use of land within the re-aligned squircle shaped racetrack – or as the developers say, create a neighbourhood within a park.

About 18 hectares within the horse racing track will be open to the public as sports ground, a running track, children’s playground, adventure playground and other community space.

The public area is being configured so as to be able to accommodate large events like farmers markets and flower shows.

The inside of the current Moonee Valley Racecourse has been used for car parking.

The Moonee Valley Park proposal all leaves the opportunity for a cinema and hotel to be developed at the site.

Construction timeline

The first dwellings within the racetrack – three storey townhouses atop basement car parks, which began being marketed for sale early this year – are now under construction and due for completion in 2021.

About nine hectares of the racecourse site will make way for residential development.

Track reconfiguration and construction of the new grandstand is expected to begin after the 2024 Cox Plate and take two years.

Moonee Valley Racecourse was established in 1883 by William Samuel Cox. The site was formerly a farm belonging to John F Feehan.

The townhouses currently for sale as part of the first stage of the Moonee Valley Park redevelopment are called Feehans Row.

Over decades, various planning schemes have been mooted for the site including that it could be turned into an aged care complex.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.