NORTH Melbourne has launched a fundraising campaign to help bankroll a $10 million redevelopment of its Arden Street headquarters it says is essential for it to attract big-name trade targets and free agents.
North is advanced in its preparations for the redevelopment, which will transform its home ground into a match-ready venue ahead of the club's entry into the AFLW in 2019, but is seeking to raise $2.5 million from club supporters to help finance the project.
North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley told a gathering of prominent North supporters on Wednesday night that the redevelopment was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" that would help the club cement its long-term future at Arden St.
"We really need the support of our major benefactors to come on board and help us take the next step forward as a footy club and keep pace with the rest of the competition, both here in Melbourne and right across the country," Buckley said.
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The Kangaroos have been ambitious players in the trade and free agency markets in recent seasons. But after landing free agents Nick Dal Santo (2013), Jarrad Waite and Shaun Higgins (both 2014), they have come up short in big-money plays for rival stars such as Dustin Martin, Josh Kelly, Adam Treloar, Isaac Heeney and Dan Hannebery.
This year North is making multimillion-dollar plays for Jordan De Goey and Andrew Gaff.
Coach Brad Scott said the club's ability to attract rival stars would take a hit if the redevelopment didn't proceed.
"We're a growing club and we're expanding and the facility is a key component of that, not just for the current players who are here but for prospective free agents and players from other clubs who look at North Melbourne and prospective players come and look at the facilities number one," Scott said.
"If they see a great facility they think that translates straight into on-field performance and it's hard to argue with that."
An artist's impression of the new facilities at North Melbourne's home ground.
The proposed Arden St redevelopment will include the following game-day and training facilities:
- A second change room for visiting teams, and two umpire change rooms
- Expanded warm-up areas
- A match-day centre coaches, stats, media and timekeeper boxes
- A state-of-the-art scoreboard
- An additional medical room
- Upgraded oval lighting for training
- Office space for the club's new AFLW, VFLW and VFL staff, and new facilities for AFL staff, including a video review room and media studio.
North is hoping the redevelopment will just be the first stage of a large-scale revamp that transforms its Arden St base into the biggest inner-city training complex in Melbourne.
The Kangaroos' long-term vision is tied into the Victorian Government's proposed multibillion-dollar transformation of the industrial areas surrounding the club's headquarters.
Under the government's plans, the newly created Macaulay and Arden precincts will become largely residential areas centred around a new underground train station, with the local community expected to attract 40,000 new residents.
Last year, the Kangaroos submitted plans to the government's planning authority in which its Arden St home's footprint would grow from 4.5ha to 11.2ha and be upgraded to include:
- An indoor gym and sports centre with a large synthetic oval
- A second indoor centre with four multi-use hard courts
- An indoor aquatic centre with a 50m pool
- Sports change rooms and social rooms
- An outdoor synthetic oval with lighting
- A café and other shops