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St Kevin's College set to acquire Tooronga land from Coles for sporting fields

Negotiations are well advanced between St Kevin's College and Coles for the school’s acquisition of 5.4 hectares of vacant land near the Tooronga Village in Glen Iris.

The college is keen to buy the land, fronting Crescent Road, reputedly for as much as $23 million, Property Observer understands.

It intends to use the existing open car park and vacant land for sports facilities - mainly ovals for soccer, hockey, Aussie rules football, tennis, cricket and athletics. A planning scheme amendment will be submitted to the council to get the ball rolling.

In 2011 Coles bought a 7.7 hectare parcel of land near its 800 Toorak Road head office from developer Stockland for residential and commercial development. The purchase price was undisclosed. The land is next door to the supermarket which it leases from Stockland.

Now, on a section of that land, the Coles group wants to build a multi-level car park connecting its store support centre to replace an existing open car park. A permit application has been lodged with the City of Boroondara.

Other parts of the Coles holding are set for purchase by the Christian Brothers school.

St Kevin's and the retailer recently held two resident information sessions to explain their proposals for the two separate developments. It’s believed 60 people attended the first session and 80 the second, with the mood said to be ‘’very positive’’.

Headmaster Stephen F Russell told parents in a newsletter the pending purchase would ‘’fulfil a decade-long aim of our strategic plan: to find suitable land to allow our sports and physical education programs to operate well’’.

‘’The college has been saving for some time in preparation for this opportunity. Along with borrowings we have plans to develop the site leading up to our centenary in 2018.

‘’We will need the support of our community, past, present and future, to accomplish this lofty and necessary ambition.’’

Russell says other primary schools and community groups would be welcome to use the proposed facilities when they are free.

About one hectare of the land will be left for public open space, including a terraced area near the Tooronga Village shopping centre. It will be enhanced by landscaped bicycle pathways with some land being transferred along the Gardiner’s Creek pathway.

The proposed sports fields are close to Tooronga station, making them ideal for rail commuters, the headmaster says.

It was in 2011 that Coles had bought back from Stockland - cut back to a 7.7-hectare slice of the former larger site it had sold to Stockland in 2004.

The sale, for an undisclosed sum, included what was to have been stages two, three, four and five of the controversial Tooronga apartment project.

At the time Coles was planning to build a mixed-use village on the land next door to the supermarket.

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