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Ballarat’s historic station precinct set to be transformed

Ballarat's station precinct is set to be transformed, following last week's announcement that the Pellicano Group has been awarded the rights to develop a new conference centre and hotel facility.

Premier Daniel Andrews last week joined Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford, Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight and Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard to announce the winning team to build the $44 million project which seeks to kick-start the larger revitalisation of Ballarat’s historic station precinct and surrounding area.

The redeveloped precinct will feature:

  • A modern 4.5 star 77 room hotel to be run by Quest.
  • 1,700sqm conference centre, a 300-seat theatrette and a 300-seat banquet room within the Goods Shed.
  • 900m2 of retail and dining options within the Goods Shed and a public plaza for community events.
  • 420 car parks with 270 for commuters and 150 for hotel patrons, with scope for future expansion.
  • The Spotless Group will operate the conference facilities under their EPICURE brand and will focus on building an events base including exhibitions, performances, weddings, conventions, community events and galas.
The new 4.5 star 77 room Quest Hotel. Image courtesy Pellicano Group

Ballarat has a proud history and bright future. This is about putting people first and bringing more people to this great city – creating jobs and making this historic precinct something locals can be proud of.

Premier Daniel Andrews

We think it’s a very strategic site near the train station, and the combination of a Quest hotel and convention centre run by Spotless was an attractive prospect. It made a lot of sense to invest in the project and we’ve got a long standing relationship with Quest, so that made us more comfortable. We are very confident (it will be successful). We’re basing it on our assumptions done via modelling and Quest already have an existing model as they have a[apartments ion Ballarat already.

Nando Pellicano, Director, Pellicano Group

The Victorian Government will be investing $25 million from its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. Construction is expected to begin by mid-late 2017, however a completion date for the project has yet to be nominated. The project is expected to generate 140 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing jobs once completed. Construction will be staged in such a way to minimise disruptions to local residents and commuters.

The concept plans are available for viewing and comment at www.engage.vic.gov.au until 22 January 2017. The community is also invited to an open day on Saturday 3 December at Ballarat Library, from 12.00pm to 4.00pm.

2 comments

Stephen Matthews's picture

As a Ballarat resident, and a commuter to Melbourne, I have mixed feelings about this development. Any improvement to Ballarat's facilities and attractions, in a historically sensitive manner, is not a bad thing and should be welcomed. The precinct as it is, could be put to better use and needs a facelift. Ballarat needs decent hotel and conference venue.

That said, the precinct is still a rail hub, and growing use of the service to Melbourne (which has ongoing issues with punctuality, reliability and overcrowding as it is) will be severely compromised if this development does not take care of the rail commuter parking issue.

As it is, the formal an informal parking areas around the station and goods sheds are at capacity. This rail user parking is going to be reduced overall in the plan, and will have competition from the conference facility and hotel users. There is no practical way that the two will be able to be controlled and kept separate, unless suddenly commuters will have to prove who they are - perhaps passes to be displayed that come at a cost? This would inevitably have to be followed by rigorous parking inspections. All I see is a revenue grab there.

This development would struggle to meet commuter demand at present, let alone cater to the ongoing patronage of the rail services (which, I might add, would grow further if sense was seen, and a link between Geelong and other regional centres in Victoria such as Bendigo, via Ballarat, was instituted).

Ballarat has major infrastructure planning issues such as the Civic Hall site (which would be a better location for the hotel/conference venue and is a 5 min walk from the station), and the sale yards. Both of these issues have dragged on for a decade with no clear plans or actions. This may not go the same way with clear state government money and interest, but the precinct should be a rain and bus transport hub first, and the rest should work around that, in my view, and that of many other local rail users I know.

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Mark's picture

Would be good to see this go ahead but like all State Labor projects, easy to announce and produce a glossy brochure, whether it will actually be built is entirely different question.

Suspect this will go down the gurgler like the rest of the projects.

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