Warrnambool has almost surpassed its average annual non-residential building activity investment in the first quarter of the financial year in the biggest commercial investment in a decade.
Council's city growth director Andrew Paton said there were strong levels of investment in non-residential buildings across a range of sectors.
These include food processing, aged care and retirement living, a new library, childcare, multi-storey mixed use office and retail, schools and food and dining.
Mr Paton said in the first quarter of the financial year council had approved $26 million of building and he was confident the strong levels of investment would continue into 2021-22.
He said the value of non-residential building activity had historically averaged around $32 million each year over the five-year period ending 2019-20.
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"In 2020-21, commercial or non-residential building activity experienced a significant injection of investment, reporting $53 million worth of commercial building activity, a 65 per cent increase on the previous year and the five-year average," he said.
"What was really encouraging is that included a lot of investment from our largest employing sectors in the city."
He said it was the strongest range and value of investment pipeline he'd seen in the past decade.
Mr Paton said despite the challenges of a global pandemic, this scale of commercial investment was "testament to the rising business confidence levels that existing and new businesses are choosing to invest heavily in Warrnambool".
He attributed the growth to the low cost of finance, as well as the pandemic, with businesses thinking hard about their strategy, when to invest and to be more flexible in their offering.
"This investment is about building capacity and capability and growth is very much in play," he said.
"I think the low cost of capital is encouraging industry to invest now despite some of the global uncertainty that exists," he said. "It's a real vote of confidence that some of our large employers have chosen to continue to invest and we're seeing some exciting external investment come into the city as well.
"I think we'll continue to report strong levels of commercial investment throughout the year," Mr Paton said.
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