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ALBURY-Wodonga is on the brink of a gloom busting resurgence in construction with a string of large scale projects to start next year.
Development valued at close to $250 million will start in the two cities next year, including the $70 million cancer centre in Albury and $60 million Mann shopping centre in Wodonga.
Construction employs about 2300 people in Albury-Wodonga, but the figure is expected to surge next year and into 2015.
The Australian Taxation Office’s new headquarters in central Albury was the biggest recent large development completed locally and sold for $48 million late last year soon after being officially opened.
Hansen Yuncken has already moved onto the cancer centre site at the Albury hospital, with works to ramp up in the new year. The federally funded project is due for completion in October, 2015.
The Mann shopping centre is being cleared by Joss Construction ahead of work starting in the middle of next year.
The project is awaiting Wodonga Council approval of an updated planning permit submitted in late November.
Once completed it will be of similar size to the 17,000-square metre Wodonga Plaza.
Joss will also start work on a $57.6 million military warehouse project at Bandiana in the new year.
The next stage of the Volt Lane redevelopment in central Albury will begin next year, with 200-plus construction workers to build the $30 million hotel next door to the tax office headquarters.
Albury Council awarded the construction contract for the $10.5 million Albury art gallery redevelopment to another local firm, Zauner, this month.
Work is due to start in February, with a completion date of early 2015.
Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said few regional areas the size of Albury-Wodonga would have as much construction activity due to start at the same time.
“Almost every pundit in the country is predicting 2014 will be a really, really tough year business-wise across every sector,” he said.
“At worst it is an amazing insurance policy to have up our sleeve.
“But if the year turns out better than what the majority of experts are saying it will still be cream on the top.
“The other great thing is it’s happening in construction because there is such a huge flow on to the rest of the local economy from the sector.
“It flows back really well to local retailers and other local businesses.”
The last construction boom locally coincided with the Building Education Revolution.
Wodonga’s replacement saleyards at North Barnawartha, valued at $25 million, are also due to start early next year.
This is being developed by Palisade-Regional Infrastructure after buying the saleyards business from the council in 2009.
A lease to use the existing yards was recently extended to December next year.
Ambulance Victoria is also poised to announce the successful tender for a second ambulance station in Wodonga.
The $4 million project in West Wodonga could start in late January.