This year is shaping up to be a significant one for the Ballarat West Employment Zone.
Four land purchasers are now operating in the 438 hectare industrial zone; grain company CHS Broadbent, laboratory supplier Westlab, KANE Transport and machinery supplier Agrimac.
While Agrimac’s facility is close to completion, Broadbent also has further staged construction under way.
A number of businesses have signed contracts, but not begun construction. These include Milestone Benchtops, electric massage table supplier Athlegen, Pipecon and BROO brewery.
BROO purchased a 15 hectare site to create a $100 million brewery powered by renewable energy at BWEZ, but sod is yet to be turned.
An Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) market update from the company on Thursday said it was “currently in discussions with potential joint venture partners” to create what they claim will be the ‘world’s greenest brewery’ in Ballarat.
“The company expects that it will continue to have negative operating cash flows in the short term,” BROO said, but said it forecasted these negative results for decrease in future quarters. BROO shares are currently selling for three cents on the ASX.
The area’s Freight Hub, which was a major attraction for tenants back in 2014, has yet to begin construction. It’s future is tied up with the completion of the Ballarat Link Road, which still requires $80 million for future stages.
Contracts have been executed but not settled for Stage 1 and Stage 1b with Luv-a-duck, Cervus, and Findlay Engineering.
City of Ballarat director of development and planning Angelique Lush said the “take up of land sales is exceeding expectations”.
“The building subdivision of Stage 1b will be completed by the end of April 2019 and after which purchasers will be able to develop their sites,” she said.
In mid-January, City of Ballarat confirmed that BWEZ stage 1 is over 96 per cent sold or currently being negotiated. Stage 1b is at over 50 per cent sold or under negotiation.
But hoon behaviour has put a dampener on the industrial space, with rubber now coating dead-end roads in the complex. A large light pole near where hoon activity takes place is on the ground in pieces, with smashed glass on the road.
Ms Lush said the burnouts were a police matter, but the city was “undertaking regular surveillance of the area”.
Ballarat’s mayor Samantha McIntosh said BWEZ development has been positive and there are “really interesting inquiries by potential tenants”.
“City of Ballarat is extremely pleased with the progress of the Ballarat West Employment Zone,” she said.