The future of Melbourne’s CBD may be looking a lot like that of a suburban town with a few changes.
“The whole city will be coming under more control in the coming years,” the chief executive of the Victorian Government’s Development Commission, David Smith, told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Metro Morning program on Wednesday.
That’s because the CBD’s development has already slowed to a crawl, with many properties already being sold.
At the same time, some residents are starting to make the most of the city’s new green spaces, which are dotted around the CBD to provide green space, a swimming pool, dog kennels and outdoor seating.
Smith said he’s seen the new development trend as a way to help revitalise the CBD, as well as help residents with property taxes and council tax bills.
He said it’s not yet clear what changes would be made to the CBD over the next five years, but he said they will be beneficial to the local community.
“[It will] bring more people in, increase density, increase jobs and that will be great for the local economy,” he said.
For the first time in five years the number of new homes in Melbourne has increased by 5 per cent, Smith said.
“That’s a good sign, because you can expect that it will continue to grow,” he added.
“The growth is going to continue, but I think that’s an indicator that this is going be a very different place to the last time we went through this process.”
While there are still concerns about the future of the CBD in Melbourne, Smith pointed out that there are other positives as well.
As the CBD is now a major commercial centre, it’s a better place to live than it was when it was a small city, he said, pointing to the new parks, shops and cafes, as evidence.
But that growth has come at the cost of some residents’ property values.
They are now renting properties in the city for more than double what they were earning when they were working in the inner-city, Smith added.
The government’s development commission will release its final report in January, and it’s expected to be “an interesting document”.
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