HomeAFLMelbourne Demons explore establishing headquarters at redeveloped Caulfield Racecourse

Melbourne Demons explore establishing headquarters at redeveloped Caulfield Racecourse

Melbourne Demons explore establishing headquarters at redeveloped Caulfield Racecourse

AFL’s Melbourne Football Club has revealed plans for a comprehensive feasibility study aimed at determining a suitable long-term home base for the club, to be located within the revamped Caulfield Racecourse.

Initially disclosed in 2019, the proposed $570 million overhaul of the racecourse entails transforming its expansive, Crown-owned in-field into a community precinct named the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The study will specifically assess the positive impacts on the community of establishing the Demons’ high-performance centre at Caulfield Racecourse.

Simultaneously, it aims to enrich the experiences of individuals and sports clubs within the Glen Eira region.

Currently, Melbourne Football Club operates from split headquarters at the MCG and AAMI Park, with training facilities spread across Gosch’s Paddock and Casey Fields.

This collaborative research initiative involves the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust, Melbourne Football Club and various local community stakeholders. As the primary incumbent at the Racecourse Reserve, the Melbourne Racing Club will be actively engaged throughout the entire feasibility study to ensure that any new initiatives within the reserve enhance the facilities and services for MRC members.

Melbourne FC president Kate Roffey emphasised the gravity of the project and its potential impact on the Demons’ long-term future – particularly after such a lengthy, somewhat disjointed era.

“We need to provide our players, coaches and football staff with high-performance facilities that allow them to prepare and perform within the most demanding sporting competition in Australia,” Roffey said.

“I am excited about the possibility that for the first time in 30 years, Melbourne members and supporters will have the opportunity to connect with players, coaches and club leaders at a centrally located Melbourne Football Club home base.

“This feasibility study would not have happened without the support of CRRT and I thank them for their commitment to this project.”

The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, situated 10 kilometres southeast of Melbourne’s CBD, encompasses approximately 54 hectares of open space and facilities, including two horse racing tracks, two wetlands and expansive areas within the racecourse. The Glen Eira region currently faces a shortage of open space per capita compared to other metropolitan areas in Melbourne.

Glen Eira City Council Mayor Anne-Marie Cade tempered the Demons’ interest in relocating to the facility with a couple of community-minded caveats, however.

“We recognise a move by Melbourne Football Club to Caulfield Racecourse Reserve has the potential to increase and accelerate investment in sporting infrastructure in the area,” Cade acknowledged.

“However, we also know that investment from elite sporting clubs has been known to reduce community access in other locations.

“The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve is Crown land in the heart of the Caulfield Activity Centre. It has long been identified as a missed opportunity for broad community use.

“Any investment by Melbourne FC would need to be balanced with continued access to the Reserve by the broader community, including local sporting clubs, other levels of football, and protected areas for local plants and biodiversity.

“We look forward to working with Sport and Recreation Victoria and the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust to ensure that community use and environmental outcomes feature prominently in the future of the Reserve and are given due consideration in Melbourne Football Club’s feasibility study.”

Speculation has arisen that the redevelopment of Caulfield Racecourse hinges on the rezoning and sale of Sandown Racecourse for a significant housing development.

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