|Tom Bennett | May 7th, 2012
PORTARLINGTON is on the brink of a major investment and construction boom.
Three major projects worth an estimated $50 million have been unveiled by the town’s Business Development Association this week.
The projects have the potential to create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and will attract 200 new residents into the area when complete.
Association President John Rae described the projects as a vital boost to the local economy. “These projects have our full support, we are behind them a 100 per cent,” he said.
“They are important to the provision of services and the creation of employment opportunities in our town.”
The largest project involves the building of a 100-home retirement village on a 6ha site at the eastern end of Newcombe St.
The $40 million development is the largest single residential investment yet undertaken in the small bayside community. Road building and drainage works will begin in October and the first houses will be ready for occupancy late next year.
Developer Derek McLaughlan said organising the project had been a complex and protracted process. “It has been a long and winding road and it has taken us 10 years to get to this stage,” he said. “It has been a battle but we are about to win the war.” The village will include a community centre, billiard room, gymnasium and rooms for visiting personal service providers such as hairdressers and podiatrists.
Mr McLaughlan, whose company, Lifestyle Properties, will also manage the village, said the homes would come in various two- and three-bedroom designs.
“I see it as more of a life extension centre rather than a retirement village in the traditional sense,” he said. “It is an opportunity for people to acquire a better lifestyle in a town with all that Portarlington has to offer.”
The second major project involves Portarlington getting its long-awaited petrol station, which will be situated at a new $9 million industrial park to be built near the intersection of Tower Rd and the Queenscliff-Portarlington Rd.
The town has been without a petrol outlet for four years; the nearest fuel supply is in Drysdale, 15km away. “We have just done a deal with BP and got them on board,” developer John Lascaris said. “The service station will have six pumps and a four-bay car wash.”
Mr Lascaris said he was in the process of attracting other automotive businesses to the new estate, such as an Ultra Tune or similar operation and a major tyre retailer. He said the industrial estate would have large showrooms, offices and 26 warehouses. Mr Lascaris said he expected to begin marketing and construction in November, with the project expected to take about 12 months to complete.
“I have faith in the future of Portarlington,” he said. “This estate is a very exciting project and a great opportunity to create jobs growth.”
The recent meeting at which the projects were unveiled also heard details of a $1 million self-storage centre in Rajah Court.
Developer Clair Yates said three large structures would be built, containing about 80 storage units. “We expect building works to start later this year,” he said. “All being well, we should be operational by early next year.”