The award winning Coburg Initiative has adopted an innovative approach to the implementation of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne2030 strategy.
Moreland City Council has entered into a Strategic Partnering Agreement with the Equiset Grollo Group to implement Council’s Central Coburg 2020 Structure Plan. Equiset were selected as the development partner following a comprehensive Expression of Interest process. The call for interest attracted submissions from two major development consortia. Both consortia were tested through intensive two-day workshops with teams of Council staff. The award citation stated that The Coburg Initiative “responds in a creative and successful way to delivering the vision and aspirations of Melbourne2030 involving the community, government and the private sector.”
Coburg is located eight kilometres to the north of central Melbourne, and is the geographic and administrative centre of the City of Moreland. In addition to the Moreland Civic Centre, Coburg features a train station, city oval, library, leisure centre, and primary school. The former Pentridge Prison that is being re-developed as a residential, commercial and tourism precinct sits at the edge of the activity centre.
Coburg is typical of suburban retail centres in having lost its residential population and some of its finer-grained street network to car parks and supermarkets during the 1960s and 1970s. The Coburg structure plan sets out a vision to bring a significant residential population back to the centre, in parallel with a revitalisation of commercial/retail activity and community facilities, and improvements to the public realm, open space and the integration of public transport services.
Council purchases strategic development site
The impetus for The Coburg Initiative was generated by Council’s adoption of the Coburg structure plan in 2006, and subsequent purchase of a 1.7 hectare strategic development site currently occupied by a major supermarket and car parking. This purchase consolidated Council’s position as the dominant land owner within the core of the Coburg activity centre.
The Coburg Initiative Strategic Partnering Agreement creates an alliance between Council and an experienced development consortium to bring a high level of rigour to developing and testing options for the implementation of the structure plan, and to commence the process of construction. The partnership brings to the project the breadth of skills of the Equiset Urban Renewal Partnership, a consortium of major local, national and international consultants in the fields of design, engineering, planning, consultation and business strategy.
Council and Equiset are now undertaking a comprehensive design process that will develop the objectives and urban design framework contained in the Coburg structure plan into a more detailed, costed master plan. Subsequently a Development Management Agreement (DMA) between the partners will establish a governance framework and set out the commercial principles for implementation of the master plan. The DMA will also include contractual and commercial details for two catalyst construction projects.