Melbourne's Super Stadium
Melbourne is to get a new $100 million sports stadium as part of a facelift of Olympic Park.
AFL clubs Collingwood and Melbourne, National Rugby League team Melbourne Storm and fledgling A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory will all call the new stadium home.
The deal, to be announced today by Premier Steve Bracks, will cement the area as one of the world's best sports and entertainment precincts.
A rectangular stadium for rugby league and soccer matches is the centrepiece of State Government plans to redevelop Olympic Park, the Herald Sun has been told.
Work on the 20,000-seat stadium is expected to start soon after next year's Commonwealth Games and be completed in 2008.
The Government is yet to determine the final cost of the project but the stadium, administration buildings and training facilities are expected to cost up to $100 million.
Next week's state Budget will provide more than $10 million to develop detailed plans and pay for upgrading the adjoining playing fields in Gosch's Paddock.
A 25-year master plan for the precinct, to be developed by the Melbourne and Olympic Park Trust, Melbourne City Council and the Government, will examine future needs for athletics, the Victorian Institute of Sport and the Australian Open tennis.
The deal also secures Melbourne Storm's future, with the existing 11,500-seat Olympic Park stadium considered unviable for the club's long-term survival in the city.
The Demons, Storm and Victory have each signed memorandums of understanding with the Melbourne and Olympic Park Trust to base their headquarters at the new stadium. Collingwood's administration will remain at the nearby Lexus Centre.
To be built as an 18,000-to-20,000-seat venue, the stadium will be planned to include future expansion to cater for up to 25,000 spectators.
It will be beside the athletics track on the Edwin Flack Field, the old greyhound racing track.
The site is used as a training ground by Collingwood Football Club, which will move to upgraded fields in Gosch's Paddock before construction begins.
Melbourne Storm chief executive Brian Waldron last night said the stadium would be a boon not only for rugby league and soccer fans but the whole city.
"For the city of Melbourne there is nothing more exciting," Mr Waldron said.
"In recent years our position as premier sporting state has been challenged and this commitment, not just to a rectangular pitch but to the upgrade of the whole Olympic Park facility, will not only mean that we are the premier state, we'll have the best sporting and arts precinct in the world.
"And that's something all Melburnians should be thrilled with."
Mr Waldron said the world-class facilities would be attractive to spectators and allow players and coaches to perform at their best.
The Government's commitment to redevelop Olympic Park follows its withdrawal of $60 million in funds to redevelop the area after Victoria lost its bid for a team in the Super 14 rugby union competition last December to the Western Force.
State Sports Minister Justin Madden said then a strong case remained for improving the park, but the scope of any future work would be subject to development of a business case by the trust and the Government in consultation with likely tenants.
It is understood subsequent negotiations with all stakeholders convinced the Government a rectangular stadium was viable and would fill a missing link in Melbourne's world-class sporting facilities and help ensure Melbourne retained an NRL team.
Olympic Park was established as a centre for athletics, swimming and cycling for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.