Glass House plan grows
Council planners back redevelopment of old power plant
POWER would be restored to a dormant site under a highrise plan to expand the North Geelong tech hub.
Developers are aiming to build a seven-level office complex on the shell of the old power station building in Mackey St.
The site would form part of the Pivot City Innovation District. Federal Mills Park, the power station and the redeveloped former Pilkington building, to be known as the Glass House, will collectively offer 50,000 sq m of workspace.
The plans are set to be considered by the council at a planning hearing next week.
The old power station, which was transformed into a street art hub by Ian Ballis, would become a high-rise tech hub complete with a large outdoor forecourt, public art, and a 440-bay carpark.
The redevelopment would consist of seven storeys and would have a total floor area of about 12,106 sq m.
Geelong Manufacturing Council was among six organisations opposed to the development, due to concerns it could impinge on the nearby port’s operations.
“(It is) unsuited to the area’s industrial zoning and may adversely impact on the surrounding industrial area with the potential impact to investment and jobs,” the GMC said.
Other objectors include Geelong Port, GrainCorp, Victorian Regional Channels Authority and the Victorian Farmers Federation.
Osborne Park Association and National Trust withdrew their opposition, following the decision to not provide vehicle access across Osborne Park to Swinburne St.
In their report, council planners state that the objectors have not detailed how the port’s activities and viability will be affected.
“In the absence of evidence which support these concerns, it is difficult to form a view that the proposal should not be supported.”
The planning department recommends granting the permit, subject to 18 conditions.
“It’s an innovative approach to land use planning which responds well to the changing needs and demands of new and emerging businesses,” the report reads.
“Importantly, the perceived port conflicts can be managed through appropriate conditions.
“It also needs to be acknowledged that the potential reuse for an industrial purpose, despite its imposing character and scale, would be unlikely given the building design and siting.
“This is evidenced by the fact that the site has remained vacant for three decades.”
POWERING ON: An artist’s impression of the office complex planned for the former power station site in North Geelong. BELOW: The building has been a street art hub in recent years.