New Epping to deliver critical healthcare infrastructure and $3.4 billion to the local economy

David Lee

The rapidly-growing City of Whittlesea is set to benefit from creating more than 7,200 jobs and critical infrastructure as development forges ahead on Riverlee’s New Epping project. The City of Whittlesea approved the development plan for the $2 billion mixed-use community on January 31.

New Epping is a city-defining project that will provide much-needed healthcare, housing, employment and commercial infrastructure to transform the dormant 51-hectare site, which is set to become the most significant medical hub in Melbourne’s north. According to an economic impact report, the precinct will contribute more than $3.4 billion to the economy, about one per cent of Victoria’s current GDP.

The development will create more than 7,200 jobs once fully operational, in addition to the 622 construction roles required each year to complete the 15-year build. Riverlee development director David Lee says New Epping sets a new benchmark in how an integrated mixed-use development can meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. “We want New Epping to set a new standard in urban renewal, with a more thoughtful approach to regenerating infill sites and integrating mixed-use communities. Diversity is key to the success in a mixed-use precinct — that is what makes for a resilient community,” he says.

Home to 220,000 people, the growing City of Whittlesea is expected to reach a population of 380,000 by 2041. Healthcare is the largest employer in the area, and the Northern Hospital, which employs 5,700 staff, is home to the busiest emergency department in Victoria. Situated next to the hospital, New Epping’s 7-hectare health, wellness, and knowledge precinct will generate an additional 646 new jobs in allied health. Plans for New Epping also include the Northern Private Hospital, which was fast-tracked by the Victorian Government in 2020 and is currently under construction. Operated by Ramsay Health Care, it will create a further 726 jobs once in operation. “The healthcare sector is critical to the City of Whittlesea, not only in terms of patient care but also as the city’s largest employer.

The provision of a new health and wellness precinct at New Epping will guarantee the wellbeing of its residents, create jobs and help the state’s healthcare system cope with demand,” Mr Lee says. In addition to healthcare infrastructure and housing, the master plan includes 110,000 sqm of commercial space and retail and hospitality, supporting 5,742 workers. February 2023 City of Whittlesea chair administrator Lydia Wilson said Riverlee’s vision to transform the dormant site would significantly benefit the growing northern corridor and its community. “This landmark project will provide employment opportunities, economic stimulus and the infrastructure required to create a vibrant urban environment underpinned by wellness and sustainability,” Ms Wilson said. “Riverlee has created a vision for New Epping that builds on the cornerstones of our community — healthcare as our leading industry, the need for quality housing for people at all stages of life, and sustainability to ensure a bright and healthy future for our younger generations.

With its challenging site conditions, the former Epping Quarry has laid dormant for decades. Its transformation is something the entire community can look forward to.” New Epping’s vision for a greener future will see a central green spine and waterway rehabilitated. At the same time, built spaces will target Net Zero in operation, providing sustainability benefits to enhance the urban experience and livability. Residential plans include a diverse community of 2,000 homes, including townhomes, apartments, affordable housing, retirement residences and aged care.

Residential and commercial precincts will be connected by a civic heart, complete with parks, cafes and recreation facilities. “By looking at design at the neighbourhood scale, we have had the privilege to not only regenerate the natural environment but also lay the foundations for a community underpinned by connection and wellness,” Mr Lee says. “We believe that by creating purpose-built spaces for living, working and leisure, with unrivalled amenity and integration with nature, we can truly impact the way people live for the better, and we thank the City of Whittlesea for working with us to make this project a reality. “Across five neighbourhoods, we will deliver a range of commercial, healthcare, residential and civic spaces that will cement Epping as the CBD of Melbourne’s north. In doing so, we want to bring all the character you find in the inner north of Melbourne to Epping; in that sense, this project is ahead of its time and will redefine the future suburbs.”

Approval of the first stage of New Epping was fast-tracked by the Victorian Government’s Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce in December 2020.

Further permits are expected to be lodged this year.

David Lee
David Lee, Development Director, Riverlee

“We want New Epping to set a new standard in urban renewal, with a more thoughtful approach to regenerating infill sites and integrating mixed-use communities. Diversity is key to the success in a mixed-use precinct — that is what makes for a resilient community.”

– David Lee, Development Director Riverlee

 

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