News $50m Redevelopment of Windy Hill Precinct Announced

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I Remember Bluey

Club Legend
Jul 19, 2010
2,586
5,220
Sydney
AFL Club
Essendon
Not exactly sure if this is the right place for this, so relocate if necessary mods.

$50 million Windy Hill plan revealed
Essendon has announced a $50m Windy Hill redevelopment. See what the Bomber’s heartland will now be used for.


Essendon Football Club will announce a bold vision to transform its spiritual Windy Hill home into an “unmatched’’ Victorian female footy and community sport precinct.
A $50 million plan for the prime Essendon site and stage of some of the club’s most famous moments will be announced on Monday, including opening the precinct to the public.

Windy Hill – Essendon’s home from 1922 to 2013 — will undergo a significant facelift under the plan including demolition of a grandstand and relocation of a pokies and bistro venue.

A new multipurpose community centre, synthetic running track, children’s playgrounds, light towers so matches can be played and broadcast at night, cafe and parklands form part of the blueprint.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Plans to move existing cricket and bowls clubs from the site will also be announced, to make way for recreation areas and increased community football training space.

Essendon president Paul Brasher said the revamp would deliver “a premium venue for girls and women’s football that is unmatched in our state.”

It would also make better community use of an oval once dominated by the likes of Bombers greats John Coleman, Dick Reynolds and Tim Watson and adored by the club’s 81,662 members.

“The current tired and constrained facilities do not do justice to their importance to the community or meet their future needs,’’ Mr Brasher said.

“We are determined to ensure that the project delivers a far superior outcome.’’

The Herald Sun can reveal Windy Hill will be reshaped, expanded and resurfaced to become the match-day home of Essendon’s AFLW, VFLW and VFL teams and elite junior Victorian footy programs.

Grandstands will be refurbished to enhance the spectator experience, new digital scoreboards constructed and four unisex change rooms installed.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Moonee Valley Council mayor Samantha Byrne said it was a “a once in a generation opportunity’’ and “a wonderful opportunity to increase access for the growing number of female football players.’’

“While the Windy Hill grounds have been a prominent sporting location for more than a century, the facilities are tired and a new vision and life for the reserve is needed,’’ she said.

The council will scout improved facilities offsite for the Essendon Cricket and Bowls Clubs to make way for the project, with state and federal government funding to be sought.

A $30 million first phase would open year-round for community football, with refurbished social and function areas, accessible recreation space and grandstand upgrades.

The W.H. Cookson Stand would be demolished and fences removed to the public, with the R.S. Reynolds and Alan T. Hird Stands retained.

A new home would be sought for the Victorian Premier Cricket club that has called Windy Hill home since 1872.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Windy Hill social venue moved and improved admin offices created for the Essendon and District Football League.

The second, more than $20 million phase, would build the Windy Hill Community Sports Centre, outdoor play areas, cafe, training track and moving the bowls club.

Essendon Cricket Club president Simon Tobin said it would work “in good faith’’ to explore all options regarding the redevelopment of Windy Hill, including moving to an alternative site.

Essendon Bowls Club committee member Rob Blachford said it was “an exciting vision for the regeneration of Windy Hill”.
“If achieved, this exciting vision with the development of a much-needed new state-of the-art bowls centre, will not only create significantly improved outcomes for bowlers, but also free-up valuable space at Windy Hill,’’ he said.

Construction would start late next year, with the first stage completed in time for the 2024 AFLW season.
 

Lore

Moderator ❀
Dec 14, 2015
28,582
40,527
AFL Club
Essendon
I suspect it won't be universally popular, though personally I think it's good they're putting money into it with a focus on the future needs of the community, but still retaining the Reynolds and Hird stands – I hope more of the other heritage elements will be honoured as well, not just bulldozed and replaced with concrete (hard to tell from the write up/artist impressions).

Would be interested to hear from some of the older folk that might remember actually attending games at Windy Hill, or locals that like the bistro/pokies/bowls club/cricket club being onsite. I wonder how much community consultation was done through the process...
 

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owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
17,103
21,720
AFL Club
Essendon
Not exactly sure if this is the right place for this, so relocate if necessary mods.

$50 million Windy Hill plan revealed
Essendon has announced a $50m Windy Hill redevelopment. See what the Bomber’s heartland will now be used for.


Essendon Football Club will announce a bold vision to transform its spiritual Windy Hill home into an “unmatched’’ Victorian female footy and community sport precinct.
A $50 million plan for the prime Essendon site and stage of some of the club’s most famous moments will be announced on Monday, including opening the precinct to the public.

Windy Hill – Essendon’s home from 1922 to 2013 — will undergo a significant facelift under the plan including demolition of a grandstand and relocation of a pokies and bistro venue.

A new multipurpose community centre, synthetic running track, children’s playgrounds, light towers so matches can be played and broadcast at night, cafe and parklands form part of the blueprint.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Plans to move existing cricket and bowls clubs from the site will also be announced, to make way for recreation areas and increased community football training space.

Essendon president Paul Brasher said the revamp would deliver “a premium venue for girls and women’s football that is unmatched in our state.”

It would also make better community use of an oval once dominated by the likes of Bombers greats John Coleman, Dick Reynolds and Tim Watson and adored by the club’s 81,662 members.

“The current tired and constrained facilities do not do justice to their importance to the community or meet their future needs,’’ Mr Brasher said.

“We are determined to ensure that the project delivers a far superior outcome.’’

The Herald Sun can reveal Windy Hill will be reshaped, expanded and resurfaced to become the match-day home of Essendon’s AFLW, VFLW and VFL teams and elite junior Victorian footy programs.

Grandstands will be refurbished to enhance the spectator experience, new digital scoreboards constructed and four unisex change rooms installed.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Moonee Valley Council mayor Samantha Byrne said it was a “a once in a generation opportunity’’ and “a wonderful opportunity to increase access for the growing number of female football players.’’

“While the Windy Hill grounds have been a prominent sporting location for more than a century, the facilities are tired and a new vision and life for the reserve is needed,’’ she said.

The council will scout improved facilities offsite for the Essendon Cricket and Bowls Clubs to make way for the project, with state and federal government funding to be sought.

A $30 million first phase would open year-round for community football, with refurbished social and function areas, accessible recreation space and grandstand upgrades.

The W.H. Cookson Stand would be demolished and fences removed to the public, with the R.S. Reynolds and Alan T. Hird Stands retained.

A new home would be sought for the Victorian Premier Cricket club that has called Windy Hill home since 1872.

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture

An artists impression of the $50 million redevelopment proposed for Essendon’s iconic Windy Hill Oval., Credit: Jackson Architecture
Windy Hill social venue moved and improved admin offices created for the Essendon and District Football League.

The second, more than $20 million phase, would build the Windy Hill Community Sports Centre, outdoor play areas, cafe, training track and moving the bowls club.

Essendon Cricket Club president Simon Tobin said it would work “in good faith’’ to explore all options regarding the redevelopment of Windy Hill, including moving to an alternative site.

Essendon Bowls Club committee member Rob Blachford said it was “an exciting vision for the regeneration of Windy Hill”.
“If achieved, this exciting vision with the development of a much-needed new state-of the-art bowls centre, will not only create significantly improved outcomes for bowlers, but also free-up valuable space at Windy Hill,’’ he said.

Construction would start late next year, with the first stage completed in time for the 2024 AFLW season.
Quietly not mentioning that Jackson Architecture is Daryl Jackson, EFC life-member and 10 year board member.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
17,103
21,720
AFL Club
Essendon
The map below has the existing croquet grounds in the bottom right still so looks like they've been able to get the Cricket Club and Bowls Club to relocate but not the Croquet Club. Would be good to see a more detailed map of what is going to go where.

I do enjoy how they quietly talk about relocating the Bowls Club, Cricket Club and Social Club to a new site 'within the municipality' aka 'somewhere else'.

 

Lore

Moderator ❀
Dec 14, 2015
28,582
40,527
AFL Club
Essendon
The map below has the existing croquet grounds in the bottom right still so looks like they've been able to get the Cricket Club and Bowls Club to relocate but not the Croquet Club. Would be good to see a more detailed map of what is going to go where.

I do enjoy how they quietly talk about relocating the Bowls Club, Cricket Club and Social Club to a new site 'within the municipality' aka 'somewhere else'.

XC on radio this morning made some sort of oblique reference to the croquet club, something about 'opening it up more on that side of the ground'. Also going to resurface and expand the ground itself, probably to about the same size as Docklands.

Old school centre circle in that rendering too.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
17,103
21,720
AFL Club
Essendon
So we’re finally giving the bowls club the arse?
More like they've decided to move. The way the lease agreement on the land is written is such that we don't have the ability to turf any of the other sporting clubs out against their will (from memory at least).
 

SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

Seasoned Football Analyst
Aug 21, 2018
21,400
52,319
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I come in peace as a student of these kinds of redevelopments!

Plans look really good - what I find fascinating is the Bombers are using the same "Get govt to fund the upgrade of your spiritual home by using W and community sport as the hook" that the Dogs and North have both successfully used for the Western Oval and Arden St. Think the Saints have done similarish for Moorabbin.

Will be great being able to go up to Windy Hill when we verse you in W. Went up for the VFL game earlier this year and that was tremendous fun on a sunny Saturday arvo.
 

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westking

Club Legend
Apr 25, 2010
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It reads as if 'we are trying to do the right thing even though the chances it will happen are low"

Good luck. It looks really good. So yep good luck getting this done. Just fear too many old sticks stuck in the mud.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
17,103
21,720
AFL Club
Essendon
Aberfeldie is more a dedicated athletics track for Essendon Athletics than a community use precinct like Olympic Park Oval is.

I run at / from the track pretty regularly and pre-COVID it was rare to see anyone who I didn't know was already a competitive runner using it after about 4:30pm
 

ant555

The Oracle
May 4, 2004
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Hope they do something. Was only discussing Windy Hill with a fellow Bomber friend recently and we both agreed it would be good to see some money spent to upgrade a few things. Even without an actual oval upgrade or moving the bowls club it would be good to see it get some love like Victoria Park has had.
 

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