The AFL is pushing to build a new $1 billion stadium at a $600 million cost to the State government, as the city looks to expand its population beyond a handful of seats.
The project is a key piece of the City of Melbourne’s plan to boost its economic profile and attract more visitors.
St Kildas owner Michael Paternoster is seeking a $300 million federal grant to create a $1.5 billion venue for the next five years at the northern end of the St Killeens’ oval, a proposal that has been pitched as an example of how the state can use federal aid to stimulate its economy.
“We are going to build that stadium and the state is going to spend $300m to bring it here, and then we’ll have it operational within five years,” Paternosters chief executive, Brian Paternos, told a news conference.
“I would be surprised if we didn’t get a $2 billion facility for the coming five years.
And then that $2bn could be the basis for an additional $400 million for another five years.”
The proposed site at the Northern Gateway, about 40 kilometres north of the CBD, will be a prime location for the AFL and other sporting events in the region.
But the proposal is expected to generate more than $600m in state and federal funding to build an additional facility at the southern end of St Kileens Oval, a venue that has also been touted by St Kiles City Council as the site of a new hotel.
The St Kildans have long advocated for a more substantial stadium in the city, arguing it could provide an extra sporting venue for local residents and provide more economic development opportunities.
In September, Paternots bid for the state grant was denied by the Victorian Government, and the AFL has since launched a new website with an updated proposal that seeks to provide a “more holistic approach” to St Killes stadium proposal.
The new plan calls for a $400m venue for a total of 50,000 seats, which would include the new facility and two additional hotels at the eastern end of Oval.
Paternoster said the stadium would be built using existing public infrastructure, such as the City Hall and the CBD.
“The project is to create an entirely new, high-quality public infrastructure for the city and the St. Kildans, and to create jobs in St. Katherine, and for the region,” he said.
The stadium would cost about $1 million per seat, Poulter said.
He said it would be the largest private facility in the world.
The AFL has been seeking to build at least two major facilities in Australia in the next decade.
The league is building a $4 billion stadium in Sydney, which it hopes will become a world-class arena, and a $5 billion facility in Melbourne, which will include a stadium for the 2022 World Cup.