The Age | 17 September
A report prepared by the university and council said Footscray was perceived as dated, with a ”historical association with crime and the drug trade”.
Rather than acting as a welcoming doorway to the exciting west, it has been a psychological barrier. Until Footscray is rejuvenated, it will act like a cork in a bottle, hindering the west’s development, rather than fostering it.
VU and the council have signed a memorandum of understanding to build student accommodation and establish arts and sports precincts as part of a scheme to rejuvenate the suburb.
The council has a ”land bank” of nine car parks that could be redeveloped for the project.
Victoria University already has two campuses in Footscray but VU vice-chancellor Peter Dawkins said there is a ”significant gap” in Footscray’s central business district.
He said building more accommodation was an important part of the plan for Footscray to become a ”magnet for students”.
The university is planning to create an ”arts incubator”, which would include teaching creative courses in Footscray, drama performances and art exhibitions. If the plan proceeds, the university will also relocate some academic and administration staff to the heart of the suburb and open a bookshop.