The Melton Shire council is now seeking a private investment partner to help create the first of several new western suburb communities, in a move expected to add 22,000 dwellings and increase population from 43,000 currently, to 100,000 by 2026.
The plan also allows expansion land for Harness Racing Victoria, which relocated from Moonee Valley to a new $40 million Melton facility last July.
The wider Melton Shire Council area, which also includes housing estates much closer to the city, is one of the country’s fastest growing municipalities, with population forecast to hit 144,000 by 2016, up from 103,000 currently.
In 1970, the population of Melton – about midway between Melbourne and Ballarat – was 4000.
Planning Minister Justin Madden is expected to approve the Toolern Precinct Structure Plan in June, with a developer expected to be appointed by December. Subdivision works will be carried out in the middle of 2011 with construction set to start soon after.
A council spokesman told Capital Gain more than 35 developers, consultants and other interested parties have already shown interest in the proposal to develop the first 512 hectares of land (381 hectares of which will be residential), currently owned by the council.
Property heavyweights including Delfin Lend Lease, MAB Corporation, Mirvac and Stockland are expected to be in the mix of joint venture partners.
Stockland recently paid $56.5 million for a 124 hectare development site in nearby Leakes Road capable of yielding 1300 dwellings.
Upon completion of the entire 2400 hectare redevelopment, just one Western Highway exit will divide the invisible line where Melton begins and metropolitan Melbourne ends – loosely considered the 1996 housing estates of Caroline Springs and Burnside – which actually share the same postcode as Deer Park.
All up more than $15 billion, spread as $9 billion for residential and $6 billion for commercial, will be spent in Melton, making it a bigger urban regeneration than Docklands ($12 billion).
Melton is expected to become more convenient to access by car, if a recently proposed outer ring road is developed, connecting the precinct to Melbourne Airport and an interchange at Oakland Junction, near Sunbury, better connecting outer western industrial operators to the Hume Freeway.