By Claire Ottaviano
DEVELOPMENTWA has invited expressions of interest for the development of two units within the heritage listed Midland Railway Workshops.
Strata units two and three in workshop one are suitable for commercial and community uses with two-storey development potential.
In October 2020, community organisation Town Team Movement, together with local town team the Midland Junction Collective, announced an exciting new project to transform several of the sites within the workshops into community facilities.
But both the Midland Junction Collective and a spokesperson from Town Team Movement said the project had not progressed since its initial conception.
Midland Junction Collective chair Elizabeth Archer said the group hoped DevelopmentWA could use the proceeds of the sales to activate community purposes at the site.
“We hope in good faith that commercial activities will at least to some extent be used to fund community facilities,” she said.
“We don’t have any evidence that’s going to happen… so I am a little disillusioned, but we will continue to lobby our local members and the planning minister to support us.”
Town Team Movement had planned to develop a business case which put local people and community groups in control of the future of six buildings in the workshops, the boiler house, element shop, nurses post, pattern shop, pattern store, power house and timekeeper’s office, but work on it had not yet started.
DevelopmentWA planning and transition executive general manager Matt Ryan said community groups were welcome to make a submission as a part of the expressions of interest process but did not elaborate further on any contact with Town Team Movement or the community-led project proposal.
It is not the first time a community proposal of this kind has been made for the workshops.
In May 2019, a group proposed to use block one for a Midland Performing Arts Centre, but needed funding of $30 million to get it off the ground.
The proposed performing arts and community centre would include a 1200-seat multi-purpose auditorium, 400-seat convention space, 100-seat multi-purpose activity space, indigenous community art and activity space, community hub and youth activity space and a 200-bay parking facility.
Later in the same year, the Friends of Midland Workshops group started a petition calling for a railway museum at the workshops but the petition did not get the support of State Government.
At the time, then-Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said plans with community groups to manage the site were ongoing.
In a statement last week, current Lands Minister Tony Buti said the sale of the two strata units was an exciting opportunity to be part of the renewal and rejuvenation of Midland.
“This process began two decades ago and continues to transform this important metropolitan centre,” he said.
“As part of this urban renewal program, the Railway Workshops precinct is once again becoming the heart of the Midland community with apartments, cafes, public spaces and state of the art medical facilities.”
Strata unit two is 5185sqm and strata unit three is 3565sqm with frontages to Yelverton Drive, Centennial Place, Main Gate and Woodmill Lane.
Offers close 2pm on Thursday, August 5.
For more information visit www.development