Full steam ahead for New Junction as report reveals financial boost

Published on: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The revitalisation of Midland is gathering pace with fresh financial results revealing a $21.7 million boost for the City of Swan’s New Junction redevelopment ahead of key project milestones.

Plans to redevelop Midland Oval and surrounds date back to 1968, but it was another 50 years before ground was broken on the New Junction project in 2018.

New Junction is an 11-hectare precinct that will connect the original Midland Junction with the Midland Gate Shopping Centre precinct, contributing a projected $990 million to the local economy and $2.2 billion to WA.

The vision is to embrace Midland’s future while paying homage to its past, creating a new town centre with high quality civic, retail, commercial and residential developments.

Last week, City of Swan Council voted in favour of publicly releasing a report which outlines the progress and financial health of the project.

Notably, the New Junction Project Report 2011-2022 highlights a $21.7m appreciation of the City’s net asset value.

That appreciation, which was measured from June 2013 to June 2022, pushes total project equity to $44.2m.

Overall asset value is $84.6m, with $64.5m in land, $6.7m in buildings and $13.4m in other infrastructure.

The City has invested $18.7m of municipal funds and $13.8m of reserve funds in the precinct.

The report noted there were three land sales in progress – worth an estimated total of $13.6m – which could lead to more mixed-use development, including a resort-style vertical lifestyle village.

David Lucas, City of Swan Mayor, said the planning and funding the City had put into the project was paying off.

“This report paints a very positive picture for the City and the investment we have made in transforming the heart of Midland,” Cr Lucas said.

“This is one of the most important projects the City has undertaken, and as I come to the end of my 31 years on Council, it gives me great pleasure to know it’s on the right track.

“I look forward to watching New Junction become a destination for Western Australians and a place our ratepayers can be very proud of.”

At last week’s Council meeting, Councillors also voted to have an annual report on the New Junction project prepared at the end of each financial year.

“New Junction has already started taking shape with the opening of the first major mixed-use development and the completion of Weeip Park,” Cr Lucas said.

“There is much more to come, from private developments already in the pipeline to the construction of a new public open space called Residential Park.”

One of the private developments in the pipeline is a proposed nine-storey expansion of Swan Valley Fresh Markets, owned by John Opferkuch and Gilbert Correia.

Their concept plans include residential apartments, office space, retail space and a medical centre.

The proposal is still subject to the finalisation of a land sale and other approvals.

Mr Opferkuch said he believed in the overall vision for New Junction.

“It’s an incredibly underutilised area of land,” he said.

“I think Midland needs a new image – something to say, ‘we’re more than this’. It needs something brand new and optimistic.

“I think the WA economy is in a very, very strong position, so if we can get energy into this project now, it’s perfect timing.”

The first private development in the New Junction precinct – aptly-named Catalyst – was opened in 2020 by Steve de Mol.

An eight-storey residential, retail and commercial building, it is the first of three stages in Mr de Mol’s plans for the precinct.

Stage one created 71 apartments and another 180 are planned for stages two and three.

Mr de Mol said he planned to start stage two early next year, with pressures on the building industry easing after COVID.

As someone who has lived in the City of Swan for decades as the population has risen rapidly, he said there was clearly demand for the New Junction project.

“In five years, when we have over 500 families residing in the centre of Midland, enjoying the parks and playgrounds close to work, schools and shops, the question will be asked – why did we wait so long to make this happen?” he said.

“This has the ability to bring Midland back together with a focus on community spirit and connection and we are proud to be part of making this happen."

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