Moonee Valley redevelopment draws the inside barrier

Lost to many over the holiday period was the news that Moonee Valley Racing Club's lengthy battle to win approval for the Moonee Valley Racecourse redevelopment has been given the green light by the State appointed Special Advisory Committee. Racing Victoria released the following statement days prior to Christmas.

The planned redevelopment of the Moonee Valley racecourse was yesterday given the tick of approval by the State Government. The Advisory Committee, appointed by the State Minister for Planning Matthew Guy, released a 188-page comprehensive document yesterday which Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO Michael Browell said was a significant step forward for the club. “The main elements of our plan, the new grandstand and new horse areas have been approved,” Browell told the Herald Sun

“It’s a great outcome for the club. The master plan has been endorsed and, as a result, so has the long-term future of the club. “At one stage we thought we may have to compromise but it’s close to what we wanted.” Browell said he hoped the redevelopment could begin as early as the second half of 2014 and if things went to plan the 2020 Cox Plate would be held on the new track.

The new racetrack will be completely redesigned, with a 315m home straight, state-of-the-art grandstand and facilities to now be moved to the northern side of the course. The redevelopment would mean the track will have the ability to hold races over a greater range of distances.

The next step is for the recommendations to be sent to the Moonee Valley City Council, who next meet on January 28.

Racing Victoria: Moonee Valley redevelopment endorsed
The new Grandstand from Wilson Street. Image courtesy Thoroughbred News

As outlined by a previous article, the development's major features will include a new northern grandstand fronting Wilson Street as seen above, a new realigned race track and approximately 2000 new dwellings spread over a multitude of buildings. Following approval by the Special Advisory Committee, residential towers of up to 25 levels are now able to be included within the scheme, with separate land parcels requiring individual planning applications.

While Plus Architecture was responsible for the masterplan which went before the Special Advisory Committee, it's unsure whether they will be the lead architect as the project moves into the next stage.

Yes beats no! Images courtesy Save Moonee Ponds and Herald Sun

Cold comfort to the many local residents who saw it fit to attach protest placards to their properties, but the approved masterplan will carry 20 percent less dwellings than what was initially called for by the development team. In addition increased open space, fewer taller towers and diversified uses will be incorporated into the project that will span well over a decade.

Conversely both Moonee Valley Council and local residents action group Save Moonee Ponds have expressed pleasure with the increased heritage overlay that the Special Advisory Committee placed over parts of the racecourse. Retained will be the secretary's house and garden, the main tote, main gate and stable area - areas which will find a new lease on life in another role to their previous existence.

Caulfield Racecourse ready to go. Image © Beck Corporation

While the Moonee Valley Racecourse development has maintained a high media profile over a number of years, it's not the only Melbourne racecourse seeking financial security via the sell-off of land parcels. Both Flemington and Caulfiled Racecourses will begin their own apartment-led transformations in the not too distant future, with the Beck Probuild Consortium already taking registrations for the $1 Billion dollar plus Caulfiled Village project.

As to whether Moonee Valley gets the jump out of the barriers with a proposed mid 2014 commencement, interested punters will just have to wait and see.

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