Construction Roundup: Geelong

Geelong may be Victoria’s second-largest city, but it’s also the second-fastest growing urban centre in the country.

With huge infrastructure projects underway, the City of Geelong is proving a lucrative investment. And this boost in construction activity is overflowing into other sectors, with residential building approvals exceeding $1 billion for the first time last financial year.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the projects driving Geelong’s construction boom.

Geelong Performing Arts Centre

Budget: $38.5 million

Contractor: Kane Constructions

The redevelopment of the state’s only government-owned cultural institution outside Melbourne includes new foyers and rehearsal spaces, along with improved entry and accessibility to the venue.

Kane delivered stage 1 of the redevelopment in 2010, refurbishing the existing theatre. Stage 2 is underway and completion is expected within the coming months, with over 100 local jobs created as a result of the construction works.

Geelong Council Offices

Budget: $91 million

Last September, the Geelong City Council announced its plans to build a new administrative building for its headquarters. The project includes 10,000m2 of office space, 300m2 of ground-level retail space, and 120 car parks.

Three developers were shortlisted for the project in March (epc.Pacific/Fender Katsilidis, Quintessential Equity/Cox Architecture, and Raffles Chatter/Grimshaw Architects/Chandler Architecture) with an appointment to be made by August. Construction will begin in April 2020.

Related: $355 million Geelong City Deal Gets Green Light

Lara Prison

Budget: $689.5 million

Contractor: Under tender (John Holland preferred)

Initially budgeted to be a 700-bed project, Premier Daniel Andrews announced last month that the Chisholm Road Prison would be expanded by 548 beds, making it the largest maximum-security prison in Victoria.

Construction was initially slated to begin earlier this year, but the Department of Justice and Regulation is yet to formally appoint a major contractor for the works. John Holland is said to be the preferred tenderer, with the prison projected to be operational by 2022.

The Government says its investment in the new prison will support hundreds of jobs across the steel, manufacturing, construction and engineering sectors.

Western Rail Plan

Rather than matching the $2 billion investment on offer from the Morrison Federal Government, the Andrews Labor Government will instead forget ahead with its alternative Western Rail Plan.

This involves the separation of metro and regional lines, delivering separate services to growth areas in Melton and Wyndham Vale, and the pursuit of faster trains for the Geelong and Ballarat lines which may involve the electrification of these tracks.

$100 million was pledged in the State Budget to fund the planning and design of the plan’s staging and implementation.

Related: Federal Budget Delivers Major Investment of Funds to Victorian Infrastructure

GMHBA Stadium

Budget: $102 million (Stage 5 construction works)

The Geelong Cats’ home at Kardinia Park is set to expand its capacity to 40,000 thanks to the construction of a new two-tier stand to complete the stadium bowl.

Announced by the Labor Government last September, the fifth and final stage of construction will bring total expenditure on the project to $300 million.

Construction will commence in 2020 after the stadium plays host to the ICC World T20 matches, expected to create 300 jobs.

GMHBA New Head Office

Budget: $40 million approx.

Developer Quintessential Equity will deliver a multimillion-dollar, nine-storey office building on Moorabool Street. GMHBA will become the building’s anchor tenant upon completion, with over 9,300 sqm of A-grade leasable commercial space to be created. The building’s ground floor will also offer active frontages with three retail tenancies to be made available.

The project is due to start later this year and will take about two years to complete. GMHBA says construction will create about 600 jobs.

Ongoing Schools Construction

A new school will be built in Armstrong Creek ($3.9 million) for 1,100 secondary students.

Over 28 schools within a 12-kilometre radius of Geelong have received Government funding for upgrades, including $1.5 million in upgrades for Hamlyn Banks Primary School, $7.8 million for Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College and $3.7 million for Ashby Primary School.

Related: Schools Construction Roundup
Geelong Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Budget: $100 million approx. (Stage 1 construction works)

Last month, the State Government announced that its flagship women and children’s hospital will be located adjacent to University Hospital Geelong, in order to provide easy access to the Kids Emergency Department bo be built at the hospital.

A further $40 million was pledged by Bill Shorten to transform the existing Baxter House into an elective surgery centre, however will not go ahead due to Labor’s election loss.

There has been no word since the election as to when construction on the project will begin, though Victoria’s State Budget last month confirmed the allocation of funds.

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