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Crisis? What crisis? Docklands booms

02 Jul 2009

The Docklands economy continues to boom with recent City of Melbourne figures showing continued growth in employment, population and number  of businesses.

At the beginning of this year, more than 20,000 people came to work each day in Docklands.  This number will soon rise to nearly 30,000 with corporate giants ANZ, Myer and others due to move to Docklands.

The finance and insurance industries dominate the employment space, with 34 per cent of workers employed by the sector.  Public administration is the next biggest employment category at 18 per cent.

VicUrban says large-scale commercial space is currently all tenanted in Docklands – recently confirming that a member of Singapore Power Group, Enterprise Business Services (Australia), will be taking the remainder of commercial space at National Food’s 737 Bourke St address.

Other companies to make the move to Batman’s Hill this year include Fairfax (Media House), VicUrban (Goods Shed), and the Building Industry and Plumbing Industry Commission (Goods Shed).

Retail vacancies, however, tell a different story, with nearly 10,000 square metres still vacant last year.

At the end of 2008 Docklands had 567 business establishments – up by 200 on the 2006 figures.

In the same period, only 374 residential apartments were completed – a significant slow-down compared with the 1338 which were completed between 2004 and 2006.

The City of Melbourne supported three Docklands businesses with expansion funding totalling $68,875 last year.  It gave $12,955 to Open Channel, $29,400 to Compoundia and $26,520 to Tiffins.

The council also gave the Docklands Chamber of Commerce $30,000 in the 2008 financial year and a further $40,200 last year.  The funding increase was based on a 35 per cent increase in membership to 67 members.

The council says it spoke with ANZ and NAB about what Docklands was like as a business location.

It said feedback praised the availability of child care and an increasing number of shops and community facilities.

“Opportunities for community/business engagement and involvement were seen to be critical for the success of the area, both as a business location and a desirable working environment for staff,” a council report said.

“Given the waterfront location, the opportunity to utilise the waterways for regular transport options was also discussed as part of the precinct’s point of difference.”

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