Victoria University and the Maribyrnong City Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop Footscray as Australia’s first capital city University Town.
Through education Footscray University Town aims to generate rapid economic and social change and continue the rejuvenation of Footscray as an arty, edgy and exciting place.
A central feature of the plan is to bring significant Victoria University activities into central Footscray, starting with a bookshop, learning space and coffee shop and soon to come, an arts precinct.
Footscray is the gateway to a booming west of Melbourne and this plan will bring about urban, economic and social renewal and be a catalyst to generate confidence, investment and employment in Footscray and in Melbourne’s west.
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Dawkins said, “Victoria University will be seamlessly integrated within the fabric of Footscray through academic, social, community and retail facilities, for example student accommodation; an arts precinct with visual and performing arts spaces; and a sports precinct with elite sports facilities and a sports industry incubator.
“We have two campuses in Footscray and significant partnerships with Footscray ‘icons’ such as the Western Bulldogs, the Western Hospital and the Footscray Community Arts Centre. While these ‘icons’, and others, encircle Footscray, there is a significant gap in the heart of the central business district. The first Victoria University downtown location will be established by the beginning of 2014.”
Maribyrnong City Council CEO, Mr. Vince Haining said, “Footscray is renowned across Melbourne as an edgy, art-focused suburb that offers authentic dining and cultural experiences, and becoming a University Town will further enhance its reputation as an up-and-coming place to work, study and invest in.”
An intention of the plan will be to extend VU’s Footscray Park campus across Ballarat Road to bring the major campus closer to Footscray central.
Approximately 20,000 VU students currently study in Footscray and there is the potential for many students to live in Footscray including those from other educational institutions, as well as university staff and other associated professionals.
Projects which will be part of a ten year plan aligned with Footscray University Town include rapidly creating student accommodation; building new facilities to foster creative arts and sports including open space areas; and ready approval for development projects providing student related entertainment and recreational facilities in central Footscray.
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