Revitalising Central Dandenong - nothing ventured, nothing gained

Last week project partners celebrated the official start to works for Dandenong's new ATO complex, which spearheads an increased level of development in Melbourne's 'second city'. At the on-site ceremony EPC Pacific Chief Executive Patrick Smith stated “This development is achieving the vision of the Revitalising Central Dandenong project by bringing people back to Dandenong’s heart in new offices that will provide a brilliant work environment with a great atmosphere.”

With the Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative conceived in 2005, Dandenong's urban renewal to date has been a stop start affair with government's (federal, state and local) providing the initial investment and tenant impetus. Coupled with increased and more efficient transport links, only now is central Dandenong beginning to bare sustained results by way of private investment.

The Current Crop

Joining the ATO and newly finished City of Greater Dandenong offices which between them deliver over 25,000sqm of office space are two residential projects that have taken some time in gaining necessary pre-sales. Quest have also weighed in with an $18 million serviced apartment complex on Walker Street due to commence construction within months.

Mosaic Apartments are well well and truly under construction with a majority of the 285 apartments and townhouses sold within the project which is valued at $85 million. Nearing the starters gate is 27 Scott Street which after a year of pre-sales has landed Platinum Construction as its build contractor.

Relevant images © Crone & Doig Architecture

Pending Developments

Baracon have released images of a revised Spectra Apartments which is open to registrations of interest. At 18 levels and near 60 metres, Spectra at 219 Thomas Street is poised to become Dandenong's tallest building when realised whilst also representing one of the largest private investments within Dandenong's CBD.

Further along at 285 Thomas Street, Alfasi Property Developments have a 10 level commercial complex ready to commence, subject to a tenant signing on. In addition Moull Murray Architects have received approval for an apartment-hotel development at 124-128 Foster Street. Places Victoria are also in continued talks to deliver a private health care facility servicing the greater Dandenong, Gippsland and Peninsula area within the precinct.

One could surmise this to be a new hospital, bringing further diversity to Dandenong's heart, whilst Burbank will continue to deliver high density apartment projects within its Metro 3175 enclave according to the area's master plan.

Spectra and 285 Thomas Street. Images courtesy Baracon and Alfasi

Dandenong's Experience Applied Elsewhere

It hasn't been smooth sailing for Dandenong post the 2007 implementation of Revitalising Central Dandenong, with a rash of both medium and large apartment projects failing to materialise (seen below). The case could be made that without the initial investment, time and planning devoted to the project via Places Victoria and the State Government, Dandenong may still well find it highly difficult to attract masses of private investment for large-scale projects.

Apply this notion to another urban renewal node such as the Joseph Street Precinct and it may well be plausible. Wedged between Footscray proper and the Maribyrnong River and only 4km's from the CBD, one would think that the prime location would be a hub of construction activity? Not at all.

With many towers of up to 30 levels approved, the area has remained untouched for years. Is it worth the State Government or Maribyrnong Council stimulating sales/construction in the Joseph Road Precinct via commencing early works (access and landscaping) similar to that of Dandenong's? Quite possibly as evidently no developer wants to be first down the rabbit hole so to speak.

What may have been. Image sources Pinterest, Alfasi and Ray White

Dandenong is a work in progress but also a testament to the 'build it and they will come' principle. Using Darwin or Parramatta as a benchmark for what Dandenong may resemble in the future, there's plenty of upswing yet to come.

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