Street a straight line to heart of the city

WORK on realigning a key road in Wodonga’s central business area makeover will start next year as private interest in the former rail corridor land continues to grow.

The government organisation overseeing the rebirth of the city centre says it is already in deep discussion over a restaurant for the old train station and an entertainment precinct that may include a cinema.

Yesterday the Victorian Government gave further impetus to the makeover with a $3 million package that will change the heart of Wodonga.

Among the plans is the straightening of Elgin Boulevard to align it with the former Jack Hore Place to create an intersection.

The funding will also see Church Street cut across the old rail corridor to link with Elgin Boulevard.

That, in turn, will bookend an urban square containing performance stages and grassy knolls.

Places Victoria regional general manager Nick Foa said the three projects were expected to be completed within two years.

“This money is vital because it funds the base infrastructure works that allow us to present parcels of the land to the market,” he said.

“It makes the viability of the project so much more achievable.

“This is a long-term project but there is already significant interest in these spaces.

“Two commercial processes are under way — we have significant interest in a restaurant-cafe for the old station and also for investment in the retail and entertainment precinct,” Mr Foa said.

“Commercial negotiations will take some time but we hope to make announcements in the first half of next year.

“We expect work on Elgin Boulevard to start late next year and have the final piece of the puzzle, the urban square, completed in late 2014.”

Regional Cities Minister Denis Napthine said the makeover would create a heart and soul for Wodonga.

“This is more than a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“This is the creation of a city centre, the funding providing key pieces of infrastructure that will see that happen.”

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said few cities were afforded the opportunity to completely overhaul such a significant portion of land in the heart of the CBD.

“This project will have lasting impacts on jobs, economic benefits and quality of life for the Wodonga community.”

The cost of the makeover of the former rail corridor is now estimated at almost $50 million.

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