The Demons have revealed plans to build a new headquarters next to the MCG as well as a training ground on Yarra Park, in the northeastern corner of the MCG precinct.
The proposal also pitches a six-storey complex with an office-wing, a gym and medical facilities, utilizing the space atop rail tracks next to Jolimont Station.
Melbourne chief executive Peter Jackson in an interview with the Herald Sun said the club is looking at a number of options for its future training and administration facilities – Yarra Park being one of them.
The prospect of a new dedicated home for the AFL’s oldest club has been confirmed with the state government, much to the dislike of Greens MP Ellen Sandell, who is already planning protests to thwart the proposal.
The Demons plan to fund the majority of the development despite inevitable complaints from locals to the handover of inner-city parkland.
Melbourne has said the new training base and HQ will provide elite new equipment and facilities for players, securing its future for the next 50 years, as commended by Demons chairman Glen Bartlett.
“The MCG has always been our home and there are obviously some sensitivities and people going forward will need to be worked with around a range of concepts,” Bartlett told Triple M.
“There are other options, but if you can have a headquarters with a train station basically underneath its easier for fans to get to, that is really in that precinct with our heritage, I think it is really, really exciting.
“There are not a lot of footy grounds, particularly in the Melbourne park precinct, for kids to go and have a kick on.
“There is a need in footy generally for more ovals and more community space”.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said the proposal will enhance the parklands and surrounding areas, providing a safe and well-lit running track for inner-city community use.
“The first thing people will say is ‘you can’t build something in parklands’, and you’ve got to take that on board because it is a beautiful park and beautiful to walk around in a natural area,” McGuire told Triple M.
“But this is the opportunity to bring things together and not just look at it as a free-kick to the Melbourne Football Club or say ‘bloody AFL are stealing the parklands’.
“[This] way you turn something that is pretty good at the moment into something that is absolutely sensational,” he said.
The Demons in the meantime will continue to train at AAMI Park, taking on Port Adelaide on Friday.