Potential development of 895 and 903-907 Main Road

1. Update - 20 May 2019

Negotiations cease on 895 and 903 – 907 Main Road Eltham

Negotiations with developers have ceased on Council-owned land at 895, 903-907 Main Road Eltham.

Market conditions and funding difficulties in the current banking environment have resulted in no feasible outcome.

In 2018, Council informed the community it would test the market to see if a property leader could partner with Council to revitalise the site.

The partnership would need to reflect Eltham’s unique sense of history, and in addition public spaces that could support community uses such as a gallery, public plaza for Anzac day and other major events, markets and concerts were also to be considered.

Council received 14 Expressions of Interest from developers when it first started the process in September 2018. Of those, five were asked to proceed to the Request for Proposal stage.

Changed market conditions including a fall in property prices across the state, tighter lending requirements following the Financial Services Royal Commission and the distance from the CBD, all played a part in the project’s feasibility.

Mayor Karen Egan said Council and the developer were not prepared to continue pursuing development of the sites when it became clear it was not financially viable in the current market conditions.

“We’ve always said that this process was testing the market and no decision on the sites’ future had been made,” Cr Egan said.

Wingrove Ward Councillor Peter Clarke said if the private sector had been able to demonstrate a feasible project that addressed community aspirations and the development criteria, Council would have taken any proposal to the community for consultation and feedback.

“We will now need to address the issues around the existing outdated buildings that no longer meet contemporary service needs or standards and how we can accommodate these services moving forward,” Cr Clarke said.

 

2. Overview

Council has commenced the next phase of an urban renewal planning process aimed at revitalising the area which takes in 895 and 903-907 Main Road Eltham by issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP).

These Council-owned sites consist of the former Eltham Shire offices - vacant since 1996 - and the Eltham War Memorial buildings complex.

The precinct contains a number of significant sites such as the iconic Eltham library, train station and public transport interchange, war memorial building complex and cenotaph, community market site, significant retail strip and adjacent community facilities and open spaces.

Any development must seamlessly incorporate existing services or functions delivered either on or adjacent to these particular sites.

Some of the existing buildings and infrastructure - the Eltham War Memorial buildings complex is a case in point – are outdated and no longer meet contemporary service needs or standards.

Nevertheless, any development must reflect Eltham’s unique sense of history, place and preferred character through the provision of appropriate design features and materials. In addition public spaces that could support community uses such as markets, concerts and outdoor cinema should also be considered.

Any development partner must deliver on Council’s vision for the precinct at no cost to ratepayers. A potential redevelopment may include a broad range of uses that include retirement living, boutique hotel, regional art gallery and community spaces aligned with the needs of the community and Eltham town centre.

The feasibility of these or other potential uses will only be established through testing the market. Council is currently exploring the commercial realities of the development through a two-phase market testing process.

Developer proposals must reflect the community’s 2013 vision and principles for the wider precinct located between Main Road and north to the Diamond Creek, and conform to the planning scheme. 

 

3. Council's precinct vision

Precincts 3 and 4 will be locally cherished as a highly accessible, convenient and attractive location in Eltham Town Centre to catch public transport and access information, art and civic services and conduct a range of social, community and everyday business activities.

The precincts will be well connected, both visually and physically, with the rest of the Eltham Town Centre, the surrounding parkland, nearby sporting facilities and the Diamond Creek Trail. The precincts will be highly accessible, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists and will reflect Eltham’s local environment and heritage.

Having received strong interest from the private sector through the Expression of Interest phase, Council has now invited shortlisted proponents to participate on the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase with submissions due in December.

Proposals will be considered by Council in early 2019. Those proposals which best meet Council’s evaluation criteria, reflecting Council’s vision and principles will be subject to an extensive process of broader community engagement across the entire development proposal to inform future Council decisions on the project

4. Timeline of next steps 

  • January 2018
    Council decision for potential area of re-development should be extended to include the adjacent Council site of 903-907 Main Road Eltham         
                                               
  • August 2018                        
    Council agrees on a two-stage process, Expression of Interest (EOI) and Request for Proposal (RFP)

  • September 2018                 
    Council agrees on EOI evaluation criteria

  • October 2018                       
    EOI responses received, evaluated and shortlisted

  • November 2018                  
    RFP documents sent out to shortlist of EOI

  • December 2018                               
    RFP closes

  • Early 2019                            
    RFP responses evaluated

  • Next                                       
    Community consultation on RFP proposal that best meets Council’s evaluation criteria

5. Review of Eltham Structure Plan

Council is also reviewing the Structure Plans for the Diamond Creek and Eltham Activity Centres.

For information, view Council’s community engagement portal