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Interesting article in The Smage today. I thought we could do a reasonable job adding to the list.

I'll start with the old Moonee Ponds Market site between Puckle and Hall Streets in the heart of Moonee Ponds... has been a mess of concrete and dirt and twisted steel since Hoyts and Village propped up some local residents to object to an independent Readings cinema. After 8 years, Readings gave up and Coles Myer now control the site... and have released some sexy plans for the site. But so far NOTHING has happened... The site is such an embarassment that the totally ineffective local Labor MP, Judy Maddigan, moved her electorate office from the fringes of the bomb site over to the "nice" side of Puckle Street!


Anger grows over city 'bombsites'
By Clay Lucas
April 30, 2006

Pressure is growing for local councils to do something about ugly,
derelict sites blighting the Melbourne landscape. Clay Lucas reports.

THEY are Melbourne's worst eyesores — blights on the city landscape that have remained unchanged for years.

Now a backlash against owners of Melbourne's "bombsites" is growing, as councils come under pressure to get rid of them.

Despite more than a decade of boom times, hundreds of sites remain ugly blights on the landscape.

"There are so many old industrial sites around that were sold cheaply because there's so much work to be done on them," City of Melbourne councillor Fraser Brindley said. "There's a lot of speculation being done by developers, who then sit on them for years. We have to push them into doing something — to strangle this sort of speculation."

The backlash has seen a renewed call for RMIT University to develop the old Carlton and United Brewery site in Swanston Street. The Melbourne City Council has waived more than $700,000 of rates on the site since 1998, under provisions of the Local Government Act that allow councils to forgo rates on educational facilities.

But councils across Melbourne are watching closely a Moreland City Council plan to quadruple rates on more than 1000 derelict and unsafe sites. Moreland wants to encourage redevelopment or clean-ups.

"Councils keep writing to owners of sites telling them to clean them up and they do nothing," Moreland Mayor Anthony Helou said. "It's time to make the owners look after their properties. This is the first time we've had something to fight back with."

Melbourne City Council major projects chairman Peter Clarke said the city was investigating ways to promote redevelopment of CBD "bombsites".

Former Melbourne councillor Kevin Chamberlin said it was a disgrace that RMIT had "enjoyed a rate holiday". "Ratepayers have subsidised RMIT's indulgence to the tune of at least $700,000 by not making them pay rates on a site they will ultimately sell for commercial development," he said.

Most of the CBD's major derelict sites have disappeared in the past decade as the booming economy spurred into action developers who had "land-banked" the properties.

Moreland is targeting sites such as the old Coburg High School. Under the new plan, the dilapidated site would cost its owner $36,000 a year instead of $9000.

But developers say council planning delays are mostly to blame for sites remaining derelict. "Fair enough, developers should clean up sites, but let's not talk about overcharging for rates because (councils) have failed to make a decision quickly enough," Tony De Domenico, from the Urban Development Institute of Australia, said.

The Moreland plan would just discourage developers, he said.

Melbourne City Council planning chairwoman Catherine Ng said the council would monitor Moreland's scheme before considering it. "But there are not sufficient rules to force people to get on with their development, so it's an interesting (plan)," she said.

The State Government did not want to comment, but Opposition planning spokesman Ted Baillieu said "exorbitant land taxes" already penalised developers. "This is sending yet another signal that developers might as well pack up and go to another state," he said.

Architect and developer Ivan Rijavec said some large sites in the inner city already cost up to $1 million to hold.

Hard on the eye

■ The 20,000-square-metre CUB site on the corner of Swanston Street and Victoria Parade (pictured) was a brewery and headquarters for Carlton and United Breweries from 1862 to 1994. It was bought by Nauru in 1994 and sold to RMIT in 1998; RMIT still owns it. Proposals have included a casino, head office for John Elliott's failed Elders corporation, a graduate school for Melbourne University and student accommodation.

■ The asbestos-riddled Spencer Street power station, on the corner of Lonsdale and Spencer streets and opposite The Age and The Sunday Age. Closed in 1982, it was offloaded by Melbourne City Council in 2002 for $4 million to a developer who quickly went broke. In 2004, a 13-year-old girl fell seven metres in the disused power station and died.

■ The Savoy Tavern, opposite Southern Cross Railway Station, was boarded up in 1995 and has sat vacant and crumbling ever since. Mark Rowsthorn, Toll Holdings executive and brother of comedian Peter Rowsthorn, paid $9.9 million for it last year.

■ The "cheesegrater" site, a vacant Fitzroy block bounded by Napier, Kerr, Young and Armstrong streets. The site of a controversial apartment proposal, it has sat dormant since the project was abandoned in late 2004.

■ The fire-damaged Coburg High School site in Bell Street has been dormant since 1998. It has changed ownership three times but is no closer to being developed.

■ Brunswick's dusty Whelan the Wrecker site. Drug dealer Tony Mokbel and former brothel owner Jack Smit proposed an "avant garde" apartment tower. Its ownership is now in dispute.

■ The former Kodak factory in Coburg, a 27-hectare site left in the wake of Kodak's Melbourne plant closure last year.

■ The Mainland site at 565 Collins, which has been fenced off for 15 years.
 

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sydney had 22 "holes" about 10 years ago. it made frontpage news. slowly they were filed. took a while. developers had to either fill holes in or start or put a preety park ect.
sad thing is, "bomb" sites or derilict sites remain for a while, but eventually get filled.
 

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Whats so hard with just having the owners/developers fill it up with dirt and put some cheap turf over it. I know Brisbane does it.
 

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Thats why Brisbane is so artificial and cheap. They dont go for world-class things, and even when they try to do - its tawdry and cheap.

Melbourne holds prime locations for developments and are simply waiting for world-class structures to be plotted there. not some junkyard apartment tower that looks like aurora.
 

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mameenoodles said:
Thats why Brisbane is so artificial and cheap. They dont go for world-class things, and even when they try to do - its tawdry and cheap.

Melbourne holds prime locations for developments and are simply waiting for world-class structures to be plotted there. not some junkyard apartment tower that looks like aurora.
This must be the most foolish response Neilo63 can get to his honest question. Is your slant reflective of an oh-so sophisticated world-class attitude? This 'world-class' term's over-rated -- time and experience have shown me that a place or something supposedly showing world class ultimately neither yields nor wields any.

Congratulations, Brisbane: You strike me as a city that sets an example for most other cities to follow. So what if it's tacky astro turf, it overcomes presenting a wholly blighted landscape.

Cheers,
Chris
 

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The power station site should be made a priority to clean up, im sure everyone in here would agree with that, not only does it look shocking, its prime real estate, any clean up would bring return.
 

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The power station site should be made a priority to clean up, im sure everyone in here would agree with that, not only does it look shocking, its prime real estate, any clean up would bring return.
Not only that, its a bloody health hazard.
 

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neilo63 said:
Whats so hard with just having the owners/developers fill it up with dirt and put some cheap turf over it. I know Brisbane does it.
As far as the Power Station is concerned, no one wants to do that because they'd have to demolish the asbestos-ridden structures that are sitting there at the moment and get other things done just to make the place safe.
 

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Powerstation clean up bill: $20m. The MCC know that whoever gets their hands on the site will sue them for the clean up bill, so they may as well just coff up the money and get the site cleared then everybody's happy. :)
 

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I would soo love to see the Savoy Hotel and the powerstation developed. Its such an eyesore looking outside of the shiny new SSS, and seeing a boarded up one story building on the corner.

What about suburban ones? Box Hill has an eyesore for a gravel carpark in the middle of the commercial centre at the corner of Station St & Carrington Rd. It could so easily become an extension of that crappy shopping centre (Centro Box Hill Central), all they would need to do is move the loading dock for the food market!
 

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The guy who owns the land/station site (cant think of his name) was meant to be talking to interested parties about the property, but that was a while back when the infamous "ghost" tower came out that was meant to be built there.
 

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Geelong has a lot of derelict or underdeveloped sites ATM - I know the previous mayor proposed to tax land holders in some way for not developing their land - I don't know if that got off the ground though - probably (like everything else in Geelong council) not!
 

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and now we know how shit the geelong council is after knocking back the fantastic edgewater tower design, now we have a water-downed 1970's comission housing look-a-like.
 

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Lightning~Bolt said:
The power station site should be made a priority to clean up, im sure everyone in here would agree with that, not only does it look shocking, its prime real estate, any clean up would bring return.
i really vove the 50s industrial architecture of the power station site. I also want the site cleared but leave the stack and associated bldgs along Lonsdale street. There has to be a way to combine a new tower/complex with existing structures?

 

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The existing structures are too full of asbestos to be retained, apart from the smaller heirtage buildings on Spencer Street. It is already going to cost tens of millions just to demolish them.
 

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^really? no way of scraping the asbestos off concrete shell? give it a heat blast?
such a shame. the stack has been a landmark for over 50years.
 

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I too would have loved to have seen some of the original buildings retained and incorporated into a development, especially that stack. Oh well, I guess if a 250m+ tower were to go up I wouldn't complain. :colgate:
 

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I'm sure they could remove the asbestos but it would be too expensive to preserve a building which is not even heritage listed. Also the 400+ metre high tower going up next to it will just overpower it :)

 
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