Frankly Speaking – MP’s plan to save the north:

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01 Mar 2017
Herald Sun, Melbourne
Author: Olga Galacho
Section: Commercial Property
 2017_03_01 - Capture

BROADMEADOWS MP Frank McGuire has renewed demands for a halt to the “managed decline” of industrial areas in his electorate through repurposing funds earmarked for the car industry.

Mr McGuire told Commercial Property his 10-point plan to revitalise the suburb 16km north of the CBD had so far been met with silence from the Federal Government.

Dubbed “Creating Opportunity — Postcodes of Hope”, the strategy delivered to the government two months ago calls for the release of $1.324 billion from the Automotive Transformation Scheme to be used in part for a “North Authority”.

This body would guide the redevelopment of defunct sites, such as the now closed Ford factory, and vacant land in the Broadmeadows district, Mr McGuire said.

The MP hopes momentum can be built off the back of a recent sale of land in nearby Coolaroo to a medical training college. Lot A, 1350 Pascoe Vale Rd was bought for $1.225 million by Eminent College of Education, which plans to build training facilities and a medical clinic, according to selling agent Rory White of Gray Johnson.

The vendor had already secured a planning permit for a 2000sq m multi-level building including 28 basement car parks. “Significant site works have also been completed including civil services, electrical and water works, as the site had originally been intended for a community medical centre type development,” Mr White said.

The 988sq m site was part of a larger parcel on the prominent intersection with Barry Rd. Mr White said some retail outlets, including a 7-Eleven store, had recently been built on part of the site. Last year, Gray Johnson sold the convenience store to a private investor for $5.25 million.

A further parcel on the site is subject to ongoing negotiations with a big tenant.

“We are talking with a major international tenant interested in leasing a proposed facility to be built on the site,” Mr White said.

“Our clients are attracted to the area because it is in a growth corridor with a booming population.”

Mr McGuire said the planned developments were “good news for the area and a shrewd investment for the buyers and occupiers”.

“In two decades, one in 20 Australians will be living in our northern suburbs, delivering a big population for developers and employers who set up here,” Mr McGuire said.

“And the north has the highest proportion of underdeveloped industrial land that is just begging for investors to build on. “This land is the most affordable in Melbourne and yet is next to blue-chip infrastructure such as two railways, the ring road, Tullamarine Fwy and an international airport with no curfews.

“What are developers waiting for? I am saying that they need to get in now before they miss out and have to hear me say ‘I told you so’.”

Mr McGuire, who is also parliamentary secretary for medical research and small business and innovation, said he was “reaching out for a unity ticket, beyond politics, to help fast track the realisation of opportunities and assets in the north”.

“As the end of the blue-collar era approaches, I want to see an investment in whitecollar industries in Broadmeadows, especially those associated with medicine and science.”

In his strategy paper, he calls for the use of “creative destruction to reinvent old factories and deliver innovative start-ups”. He is also scathing of the underuse of more than $1.3 billion of funds in the federal Government’s automotive package.

“This scheme has failed Melbourne’s north, therefore, part of the unspent allocation should be reinvested in collaboration with the Victorian Government to trigger private sector investment,” he said.

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