'Ongoing discussions' led to VicRoads headquarters' big Ballarat move

THE state government had “ongoing discussions” with Ballarat City Council about  relocating the VicRoads headquarters adjacent to the Civic Hall.

If the state government pre-election promise eventuates, the new VicRoads building  could be one of the tallest in Ballarat. 

Yesterday, a state government spokesperson said there had been ongoing discussions between the  government and the council in relation to the multi-storey VicRoads building, which would house 400 staff relocating from Melbourne. 

“We have been engaged in ongoing discussions with the council for some time. They see it as a great opportunity for the site and for Ballarat more generally,” the spokesperson said.

The state government did not directly respond to The Courier’s question about how long it had been in touch with the council regarding the potential development of the site. 

“There will be an expression of interest (EOI) process, and we expect the building to be at least five or six storeys,” the spokesperson said. 

If elected, the state government said it would take two-and-a-half years to construct the building and relocate staff. 

Last nigh the council held a behind closed doors meeting to discuss the implications of the state government’s announcement in relation to a potential redevelopment of the Civic Hall site. 

Council chief executive Anthony Schinck said a budget planning meeting had already been scheduled for last night, but councillors indicated a preference to discuss the future of the Civic Hall site in the meeting. 

“Council will be considering how the project can move forward between now and the election,” Mr Schinck said. 

Yesterday afternoon Mr Schinck said mayor Joshua Morris would provide further information to the community today in relation to how the council intends to move forward on the project.

When The Courier tried to contact Cr Morris after the scheduled budget planning meeting last night, he did not return our calls. 

UPDATE: New report to be prepared on Civic Hall.

Colliers International Ballarat real estate agent Travis Hurst, who specialises in commercial property, said if constructed the VicRoads building would be one of the tallest in Ballarat. 

“It is going to be a noticeable building on the sky-line,” Mr Hurst said. 

“I imagine it would be amongst the largest (in Ballarat).” 

Mr Hurst said if the proposed VicRoads building were to house 400 staff, it would have to be at least 6000 square metres in size.

“That’s five to six storeys at 1000 square metres,” he said. 

Mr Hurst said the state government offices on the Midland Highway and the Ballarat Law Courts would also be contenders for Ballarat’s tallest buildings.