THE Victorian Premier Denis Napthine yesterday played down concerns about sluggish investor interest in central Wod- onga, including former railway land.
He opened the $4.8 million Elgin Boulevard realignment yesterday, a project largely bankrolled by $3 million from the state government.
The realignment has created a 6500-square metre block on the corner of Elgin Boulevard and High Street — in addition to already-vacant land at Junction Place and the former Stanley Street pool, court house, police station and Richardson Park sites.
Construction is in progress on a retail development at the corner of Elgin Boulevard and Smythe Street on land the Wodonga Council sold in 2009.
Junction Place was launched in early 2012.
The Broadgauge restaurant is the only commercial investment on the 10-hectare site.
“There is no doubt there is massive investor interest,” Dr Napthine said.
“This is the greatest opportunity in Wodonga’s history and it is important we take the time to do it right.
“Today is another step forward.
“The private sector will join the council and government in making sure we get a great outcome.”
The council is hoping its urban square within Junction Place will be completed in March next year.
It sits opposite the yet-to-start $60 million Mann Central shopping centre.
Dr Napthine said the realignment was an “important step” in the redevelopment of central Wodonga.
“It is fantastic project to revitalise and rebuild Wodonga,” he said.
“This is a small step, but this is a game-changing project.
“It has lacked that city heart, that city centre.
“This is a once in a 100-year opportunity and we need to do it properly.
“We are happy to work with the council, the community to make sure we get the very best result for Wodonga now and the generations to come.”