Concepts have been unveiled for a new $150 stadium to be based in Western Melbourne, as part of the A-League's soccer expansion.
The new club, under the Western Melbourne Group (WMG), is now set to join the league next season after confirming its licence last week.
The deal has involved Wyndham Council awarding four parcels of land to the group who will fund the stadium development as well as neighbouring commercial and residential buildings in an attempt to unlock the added value in an under-utilised area.
Various permits are still yet to be approved for the site located 30 kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD, yet Wyndham Council has indicated they will be fast-tracked with no overlays.
WMG board director and former Socceroo Steve Horvat said the new development set to be built in Wyndham will break new ground for football in Australia as the first fully soccer-owned senior stadium in the country.
“We share the vision of taking A-League football to the next level, to growing the game here at home and taking the Australian game to Asia,” Horvat said.
Wyndham City Council appointed experienced sports and business executive Kate Roffey to oversee the deal with wider plans for economic growth and development potential in the region.
The franchise model was said to be modelled on new teams recently added to Major League Soccer in North America, with investors potentially emerging as owners of hundreds millions of dollars worth of surrounding commercial and residential property.
“We travelled to the USA, and saw what Los Angeles FC we're doing and that has become the template,” Horvat said.
“If you followed that they’ve done in the last 12 months, it's been nothing short of remarkable.”
Once complete the masterplan could include a new hotel, numerous office buildings and residential projects.
The Populous designed stadium will seat 15,000 as well as provide training facilities, a sports science treatment centre and research institutes.
“We will fund the entire construction with private investment so that government money can be used where it is needed most, for the community clubs that have girls and boys missing out on playing our beautiful game every year because of a lack of grounds and facilities,” WMG announced in a statement.
“The announcement paves the way for an exciting and innovative sporting and infrastructure project for the Western Melbourne community.”
The stadium will also be based on the train line from Melbourne to Geelong with the Sayers Road station located on the development site.
WMG plans to begin construction on the stadium next year with the entire project anticipated within about six years.
The team will be based at Geelong’s Kardinia Park for their first three seasons as the stadium is constructed.