Today Minister Martin Foley, Minister for Equality, announced Fitzroy Street St Kilda as the site that the Victorian Pride Centre Board has selected to be the place that will become the home for the Victorian LGBTI community.
Jude Munro AO, Victorian Pride Centre Board chair, thanked the three Councils, the City of Port Phillip, the City of Melbourne, and the City of Yarra, for responding to the EOI that was forwarded to all Councils and universities operating within 8 kms of the Melbourne CBD. Each of these Councils has a historical and a deep commitment to supporting the LGBTI community.
“The St Kilda site was selected because it is a vacant site, the contribution from council is valued at approximately $13 million and the site is offered on a freehold basis to the Victorian Pride Centre, representing the LGBTI community, on the condition that a pride centre operates there for the next 20 years.”
“This is a $13 million contribution, which is a significant investment and windfall for our community. It is additional to the Victorian Government’s $15 million grant to build the Pride Centre. The St Kilda site was assessed as being superior on a value for money and a sustainability basis.”
Ms Munro said: “We will own this site in perpetuity.”
“We will march by it every Pride March knowing it’s ours.”
“It is accessible. It is close to the fastest and most frequent public transport service in Victoria – a 6 minute service in the peak with a fully accessible tram stop close by.”
“We expect to be able to start developing the site, following the normal approvals, within the next twelve months.”
“The Board thanks the two other Councils for their expressions of interest, which were very compelling but were assessed as delivering fewer benefits, overall, on the basis of the prescribed evaluation criteria. Although all shortlisted proposals met the mandatory criteria, one of the key benefits of the St Kilda site was the ability to deliver vacant possession. Current leases make it very difficult to gain full access to the site for probably three or more years with a 24 month building program on top of that. In addition, the freehold tenure offered by the City of Port Phillip was considered to be significantly better than proposals that were based on proportional equity ownership arrangements or long-term leases.”
“The site was selected after extensive consultation with LGBTI community organisations and members on what is important to our communities. The Victorian Pride Centre Board used the consultation feedback to develop the EOI requirements and site evaluation criteria. Professional advisers supplied technical reports, conducted due diligence, and formed an evaluation panel to give the Board an independent recommendation. The Board read and considered all proposals and technical reports and met with the evaluation panel in order to reach our decision, which was unanimous.”
“We need to build a Pride Centre as soon as possible for the sake of the major LGBTI community organisations and smaller groups who will benefit, and we are able to build with the goodwill and financial support of the Victorian Government. We are also working with the Victorian AIDS Council in the development of this important project.”
“We are now able to roll out a major fundraising strategy to find much needed additional funds to ensure we will be able to build and operate the Victorian Pride Centre as a long term going concern.”
Jude Munro AO
Victorian Pride Centre
17 March 2017