FedUni hopes to attract Melbourne businesses to fill technology park

FEDERATION University is hoping to attract Melbourne businesses to fill the remaining commercial office spaces in its new technology park in central Ballarat. 

After 24 days on the market, Colliers International Ballarat has leased 45 per cent of the 30 office suites available at the former SMB campus on Lydiard Street. 

The $2.1 million revamped tech park was officially opened by premier Denis Napthine on March 4, in a bid to attract new and emerging technology-based businesses to town.

Federation University pro-vice chancellor Mal Vallance said while the university was achieving that, he was hoping to attract Melbourne businesses to town. 

“They are all local (businesses)... but we are trying over time to change that,” Mr Vallance said. 

“We are currently working with the state government in trying to attract new businesses, and that doesn’t happen overnight.” 

Mr Vallance said the university had since received interest from a large business in the financial services sector, but said nothing had been confirmed yet. 

“If the business complements the mission of the university and certainly if those (businesses) are tech savvy, we want to

encourage them (to lease),” he said. 

Mr Vallance said he was pretty confident the remaining office spaces would be leased by the end of 2014. 

But Colliers International Ballarat senior executive Travis Hurst said the commercial property market in Ballarat was experiencing a shortage of quality office accommodation. 

“The Ballarat CBD has experienced a challenging market in recent years due to the shortage of quality office accommodation for lease,” Mr Hurst said. 

“Vacancy rates for lease of quality office space in excess of 400 square metres have been considerably low.” 

Mr Hurst said over recent years the government and private corporations had tried to move to Ballarat, but had not been able to find suitable accommodation. 

He said a gap in the value rate for leasing in the office market was to blame. 

“Until market rents hit a certain threshold, developers and property owners do not consider construction of new accommodation as economically viable,” Mr Hurst said. 

Mr Vallance said the creation of the technology park will help reduce some of the demands for commercial property market in Ballarat’s CBD. 

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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