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Hubs Boom

As written by Olga Galacho, published in The Herald Sun, 9 September 2015.

Construction will soon start on a huge business park in Melbourne’s north in a project expected to inject $3.5 billion a year into the northern metropolitan economy. 

Premier Daniel Andrews is due today to announce the launch of the Merrifield Business Park development, with 20,000 jobs to be created through the project. The Hawksburn Place site is at Mickleham — a growth corridor suburb 34km from the CBD. 

The project is a venture between the privately owned Buxton family company, MAB Corporation, and Gibson Property Corporation. It is one of a string of business hubs proposed or under way on the fringes of Melbourne’s metropolitan area. With space for thousands of enterprises, there are concerns of a glut if they fail to emerge over the next two years. MAB has two other business centres in development in the northern suburbs — Alliance Business Park in Epping and University Hill in Bundoora.

Last month, business park developer Wilmac Properties announced it would partner with Folkestone to create Millers Junction Business, a $35 million hub in the City of Hobsons Bay. Work on Millers Junction, made up of more than 70 selfcontained properties, was due to begin this month. At the same time, Melbourne Airport’s industrial park is expanding in a project expected to take 10 years over many stages. When complete, it will have warehouses, offices and retail outlets across 184,000 sq m. According to a report by Colliers International, work has started on 250,000 sqm of land earmarked for industrial use in Melbourne, with a further 250,000 sq m planned for development. However, the report points out it is “unlikely that all of the proposed developments will go ahead”.

The Merrifield project is expected to sprawl over 330 ha. Although detailed plans and drawings have not been made public, MAB says construction will start within the next four months. The business park is integral to a larger masterplanned hub that will have a town centre and 4000 homes. Paint giant Dulux has already signalled it is moving operations to the business park.