AFL on-sells Docklands site

AFL on-sells Docklands site

By David Schout

A key piece of the Marvel Stadium precinct land has been offloaded by the AFL.

Due to the financial impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), the AFL opted to on-sell the 4000sqm site at 685 La Trobe St to developer Grocon.

The league remained tight-lipped on what potential impact the sale could have on plans for the long-awaited stadium and precinct redevelopment, to which it recently reaffirmed its commitment to alongside the state government.

The site, which adjoins the concourse at the league-owned Marvel Stadium, was set to become a new property asset for the AFL and according to The Age, league chiefs were due to settle on it just before COVID-19 restrictions hit.

But after laying down a deposit believed to be around $6 million, the AFL decided to not go through with the sale such was the pandemic’s impact on the competition.

Plans for the site are unknown, however reports suggest a build-to-rent apartment tower could be in the offing, with a potential for an AFL presence in the development.

Representatives for both the AFL and Grocon said it would not be commenting on the matter at this stage.

Docklands News reported in May that long-awaited plans for the $225 million redevelopment of Marvel Stadium and surrounding precinct in Docklands were expected to be released soon.

A report released in March by the AFL said stadium upgrade plans would be revealed “within weeks”, however the league has since said it would be delayed due to COVID-19.

The plans to revitalise the stadium are expected to transform the surrounding precinct into a seven-day-a-week activated area for Docklands and the broader community.

It will aim to fully integrate the stadium, which some believe has now become “dated”, into the Docklands precinct and the waterfront.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has said it would become “the most fan-friendly multipurpose stadium in the world.”

“I’m excited about having a venue that becomes a destination pre- and post-match, I’m excited about having a venue that hopefully works seven days a week, and not just match days, I’m excited about opening up this precinct to the water in Melbourne and which develops the area,” McLachlan has said. 

Daniel Andrews’ $225 million commitment forms part of a 2018 mega-deal with the AFL, whereby the government was also expected to provide land for a new AFL House at the end of Docklands Drive in NewQuay (next to Ron Barassi Snr Park).

For its part, the league has committed to hosting the Grand Final in Melbourne (at the MCG) until 2057.

The AFL purchased Marvel Stadium (then Etihad Stadium) in 2016 and in recent months the asset proved a crucial safety net when securing a reported $500-600 million assistance package from the banks to help it navigate through the COVID-19 downturn •

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