Footscray Town Hall will undergo a redevelopment costing up to $30 million, with Maribyrnong council last week endorsing a design concept.
The town hall was originally built in 1936 as the municipal offices, courthouse and post office, with the main council building extended over several stages with the last construction works completed in 1984.
The council said changes to legislation and building code standards, coupled with growth within its organisation, had rendered the heritage structure no longer fit for purpose.
It will be redeveloped in two construction phases, starting with a new office building with up to 110 work points allowing for flexible use of spaces in response to COVID-19.
The current office will be demolished once the new one is built and then works would start on the link to the town hall and renovations to the town hall building.
The redevelopment will include the addition of several community spaces, including a 200-seat multi-use space and a public park/plaza area.
The build is expected to take about three years.
Total project costs based on a construction start of May 2022 are $26 million-$30 million.
Cr Simon Crawford told last week’s council meeting the ageing building needed to be redeveloped.
“It’s a very inefficient old building and we need to get it up to speed with modern-day buildings, modern-day efficiencies, and we want to open it up more to the community,“ he said.
“It’s a beautiful old building and it needs more attention.“
The council voted to proceed with the detailed design stage within the allocated 20-21 budget and receive a further report with a detailed cost plan and funding proposal to fund the project over three years with a combination of internal capital funds and borrowings.
Chief executive Stephen Wall said the council would also likely try to secure external grant funding from state and federal governments.
“We haven’t come up with the funding model because we don’t know what the final cost will be at this point in time,“ he said.
Community feedback will be sought once the detailed design phase is complete.