Williams Landing and the boost to white-collar employment in the west

Located in Melbourne’s western suburbs, Williams Landing is a 275 hectare masterplanned community proposed to include approximately 3000 dwellings, integrated with the suburb’s newly upgraded railway station, amenities and town centre.

The area has been identified within the Plan Melbourne strategy as a key ‘activity centre,’ providing surrounding populations with retail and service amenity, as well commercial employment precincts. Its position as a transit-oriented development allows for convenient commuting to and from the city, helping to ease issues associated with rapid population growth in Melbourne’s west.

According to a report prepared by economists MacroPlan Dimasi, Williams Landing holds the potential to employ more than 23,000 people – the majority of these in white-collar fields – based on its strategic location within one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities, the City of Wyndham.

Williams Landing developer Cedar Woods Properties has made creating the new employment cluster a priority in order to grow opportunities for local workers and businesses in Melbourne’s west and to assist in drawing congestion away from the CBD.

In terms of its natural attributes, Williams Landing is particularly well-placed to pick up significant numbers of white-collar jobs. With significant quantities of commercial land identified within the Williams Landing master plan, there are unlikely to be constraints in regard to the availability of commercial land at Williams Landing.

MacroPlan Dimasi report

The state government is supportive of this move, assigning Williams Landing as a designated ‘Priority Development Zone.’ This status allows for flexible planning and the creation of large scale commercial, retail and mixed-use developments without height limits – ideal for multi-storey office buildings.

The creation of these jobs could reduce commute times for residents, many of whom currently travel outside of the Wyndham area for work, and make Wyndham a place for long term business. In order to establish more employment opportunities, Cedar Woods will continue to leverage Williams Landing’s natural attributes and foster residents’ sense of place.

Nathan Blackburne, Cedar Woods State Manager Victoria and Queensland
Williams Landing Railway Station. Source: Wikipedia

Urban Melbourne sat down with Cedar Woods State Manager Victoria and Queensland Nathan Blackburne at the company's St Kilda Road office to discuss the developer's vision for Williams Landing as a key activity centre and commercial employment cluster.

“We first began developing Williams Landing seven years ago, envisioning the site as a masterplanned community with strong connections to state infrastructure,” Blackburne says.

“The site held huge potential with the train station, freeway interchange, community car park and bus terminal,” Blackburne says.

Working closely with the state government, Cedar Woods began planning the creation of a first class community alongside a major employment cluster to service Melbourne's west.

For Cedar Woods, getting the planning right and working with the state government on infrastructure was critical for developing Williams Landing, followed by providing supporting retail amenity.

Cedar Woods has already delivered stage one of the shopping centre with an expansion starting in February. Future stages are planned to o include a Big W store. Subsequent stages will also see the centre grow to become a sub regional centre.

Additionally, a number of medium-density projects are on the cards for Williams Landing, with the suburb’s first multi-residential project the Newton Apartments being released to the market recently. The new typology has seen strong sales already and demand from a range of buyer types with presales of 80 per cent achieved.

Newton Apartments at Williams Landing. Image courtesy Cedar Woods

With the residential component of Williams Landing now well advanced with three out of four neighbourhoods sold and under construction and the town centre well underway, attention is turning to the employment generating components of the project.

The 50 hectare town centre has the potential to accommodate a significant number of employment opportunities. According to Blackburne, many residents of the suburb also work in the area, making the development of a major employment cluster an attractive proposition. The cluster would reduce the number of residents currently undertaking long commutes to get to work, with purchasers seeing great value in being able to work and live in the one location.

Cedar Woods are working on several initiatives for the town centre such as a 50-room hotel (currently in planning/expression of interest phase to secure an operator), in addition to a strata office building (subject to approval). Demand is expected to be strong for the strata offices, filling a gap in the market for quality office spaces currently only offered in the CBD, Docklands and Southbank.

Blackburne notes that Melbourne's west can no longer be considered strictly blue collar, with an increasingly highly educated workforce working and living in the west. 46.5 per cent of adult residents within Williams Landing and Point Cook hold a university qualification, compared to 36.9 per cent of the overall Greater Melbourne region.

Economic research to investigate Williams Landing’s employment potential by Macroplan Dimasi found there is potential for 29,000 white-collar jobs to be created in Melbourne's west by 2031 under a low growth scenario. Of these jobs, it is estimated that Williams Landing will accommodate approximately 10,000 of those. Under a high growth scenario 60,000 white-collar jobs will be created under that same timeframe, with nearly 21,000 being located in Williams Landing – a major employment cluster by any means of the definition – and one which Cedar Woods has the capital and vision to deliver.

Blackburne points out that the planning controls for the site exclude height limits, which means the area can provide buildings as tall as the market demands as it evolves. Part of this sees the delivery of transitional buildings of a lower-density for the short to medium term, with Cedar Woods retaining ownership, before the development of higher density outcomes is justified.

Cedar Woods initial development pipeline will see Williams Landing mature over the next 10 to 15 years with any redevelopment of so-called 'transitional properties' to occur thereafter.

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