Lost yesterday in the mainstream media's penchant for selecting controversial headlines was a document released by the Property Council of Australia (PCA). While radio and online outlets ran with the well worn 'Richmond station to become high-rise enclave' line, 19 other pivotal sites within the document failed to generate comment.
The preamble, and basis for the report reads as follows:
At a time when public finances are already under pressure, the best kinds of projects are those that come at little or no cost to government. What better option than to unlock underutilised publicly owned land that is ripe for private sector investment.
This report lists Victoria's top 20 publicly-owned property assets that the government can immediately bring to market. By opening these prime sites to investment, the government can stimulate economic activity and enable the private sector to do what it does best: invest, employ and grow the economy.
On the basis of the above assertion PCA's Victorian division have selected 20 development sites with a nominal combined end value in the vicinity of $6.5 billion. While Richmond Station's expected development value is between $250-500 million, the remaining $6 billion worth of development usurps it comfortably.
The reports methodology was devised by MacroPlan Dimasi, with four key criteria selected in order to best reach "A balanced outcome for both government and the private sector." Size, timing, partnership and use mix were the decisive criteria which ultimately allow the grading of projects via a matrix that favoured larger, mixed-use projects delivered within a swift time frame via the private sector.
Of particular interest are the six transport projects which essentially refer to intensive redevelopment of rail stations and/or adjacent land tracts. Known intended developments such as Richmond Station have been joined by newer inclusions such as Essendon and Tooronga Stations. The thrust to develop land around rail stations continues in earnest - just don't mention Camberwell Station.
By and large the report covers many mooted public land developments that have been talked about in one form or another in recent years. Naturally there is a self-serving element within the report, although 20 Projects does manage to bundle these sites together serves to sharpen focus.
The worthwhile read can be viewed in full via the Property Council of Australia's website.