Little known about precinct development

The state government remains confident the mysterious redevelopment of the Ballarat Railway Precinct is on track, despite it becoming increasingly unlikely that a successful developer will be announced by the end of the month.

Regional Development Victoria’s original September deadline for a tender announcement is just days away from expiring, but the four shortlisted candidates are still in the midst of the negotiation process.

Much of the $25 million plan remains unclear, with a spokesperson from Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford’s office electing not to name the shortlisted developers due to commercial confidentiality issues.

Little is known about the project beyond the fact it will feature a four star hotel with 100 rooms and a refurbished goods shed. The successful developer obligated to ensure the current number of car parks (270) remains the same

“The project design will be developed by the successful proponent, in consultation with the government's design experts (including relevant transport agencies, Heritage Victoria, office of the Victorian Government Architect) and will be in accordance with the planning scheme amendment recently approved by the Minister for Planning,” the spokesperson said.

The Courier has previously requested details on the business case to validate the financial viability of the hotel, but was denied.

The spokesperson did not say if any of the land, owned by VicTrack, would be sold, or if stage one works would include another access point on the already busy stretch of Nolan Street.

“The project will deliver excellent connectivity and significant transport improvements such as access roads, pedestrian linkages, commuter car park and public realm works, in addition to the mixed use precinct,” they said.

“The successful proponent will have to comply with the planning controls that were recently approved by the Minister for Planning, which includes the requirement to prepare a traffic management plan.”

Ballarat Historical Society vice president Michael Cuttle said the overall site was one of the “best preserved” in the country.

“I wasn't overly concerned with the early proposals,” Mr Cuttle said.

“But there are always concerns about what the final outcome will be.”

Works are earmarked to begin in 2017.