The Western Bulldogs Football Club welcomes the Andrews’ Government’s intent to assign the land at the southern (Geelong Road) end of the VU Whitten Oval, the existing Cross Street and adjoining land, to the Club for VU Whitten Oval football and for community development purposes.
We express our gratitude to Dan Andrews and his team for their co-operation and work with us over many months on this important work for the Club and Melbourne’s west.
We also acknowledge a $5,000,000 grant the Victorian Government has recently made to the Club to improve our football facilities with an emphasis on women’s change rooms, toilets, a scoreboard and TV quality lighting for our future AFLW home games.
The Club has been working on a master plan for the redevelopment of the precinct for some time and has engaged with a number of consultants for this purpose.
The re-alignment of Cross Street and the assignment of freehold title over the southern end of the Whitten Oval and the existing Cross Street land south of the oval as far as West Footscray station are the foundation of this master plan, and the Club will continue to work closely with Maribyrnong City Council on the re-alignment of Cross Street.
The Club plans to develop the southern end of VU Whitten Oval both with match-day viewing, seating, and hospitality offerings but to also develop the expanded site with complementary uses which may include car parking, commercial, residential, entertainment and retail opportunities. We will achieve this historic re-design of our home ground in consultation with our members, the local community and the City of Maribyrnong.
Our plan is that the non match-day uses on the site (commercial and residential) capture financial value which will form the major part of a capital raising project, which will transform the oval into a unique community hub, the centerpiece of which will be the opportunity for families and people of the west to watch the men's and women's teams of the Western Bulldogs play football at a state-of-the-art 21st century community facility.
In consultation with the State Government, we have developed other elements to our long-term plans as the AFL team of Melbourne’s west. These discussions have included an extension of the crown lease held by the Bulldogs over the balance of the VU Whitten Oval, and plans to further develop Mars Stadium and extend the length of the Club’s home game commitments in Ballarat.
The Club also plans that the sale of our remaining licensed premises, joint ventures with prospective long-term tenants and other fundraising initiatives will help fund our long-term development plans. The arrangement recognizes that only the Western Bulldogs can optimize the real potential of this unique site.
It will be a vibrant and entertaining football venue on weekends and a busy and attractive place to live, work, dine and play sport during the week. It will also house the Club’s growing community services arm.
While its principal football use will be for women’s and VFL games, we do anticipate that its expanded capacity and quality will make the occasional fixturing of a heritage game in the men’s AFL premiership season an option. By the end of the 2018 season, we hope to be in a position to provide our members with visual and explanatory graphics of the principal re-design options for the precinct.
Obviously the acquisition of freehold title over such a large tract of premium land has a transformative effect on the Club’s future. Our commitment is to use this unprecedented opportunity to future-proof the Club and to provide a modern and exciting home ground venue which still honours our Western Oval and West Footscray heritage, while simultaneously providing a state-of-the-art destination for the people of the west.
Bulldogs fans can tune in early next week to the Club’s official podcast, Freedom in a Cage, for more details about this project.