AFL sells Marvel Stadium site in $67m deal

Grollo will develop a major site at Marvel Stadium.
Grollo will develop a major site at Marvel Stadium.

Footy fans could find themselves living on the doorstep of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium after development company Grocon swooped on a site next to the venue in a $67 million deal with the AFL.

The property company, led by Melbourne developer Daniel Grollo, has provided a financial shot in the arm for the league and plans to build an apartment tower next to the stadium.

It is believed the apartments will be targeted at the rental ­market.

The planned tower was to have been developed by the AFL itself but it abandoned its plans, partly due to the financial hit suffered from the coronavirus crisis.

The move by the developer could be good news for St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Essendon and Carlton fans, with their teams playing home games at Marvel.

The agreement is the latest move into the area by Grocon, which has been buying up sites across the country to build apartment blocks for renters.

It has done so with the backing of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The developer and the AFL declined to comment on Tuesday night but a Grollo-linked entity has put a caveat on the property.

The effective on-sale of the Docklands site after the AFL had earlier agreed terms with a ­Chinese developer strengthens the league’s position as it ­emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.

It is believed it may also take space in the development.

The AFL’s ownership of Marvel Stadium was crucial to its ­financial stability as games were halted for months before their restart last week.

Grocon’s Daniel Grollo. Picture: Stuart McEvoy

Last November, the AFL made Marvel Stadium into a business unit within the league organisation.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said that after taking ownership of Marvel Stadium in 2016 the league would redevelop the venue and the surrounding precinct into “what we believe will be the most fan-friendly multi-purpose stadium in the world”.

While the AFL retains some sway over the planned development, the sale marks a scale back for its own development ambitions, partly as the future of major events is uncertain ahead of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

This article originally appeared on