Glass House plan grows

Coun­cil plan­ners back re­de­vel­op­ment of old power plant

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - SHANE FOWLES

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.

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