With only 72-hours left for you to oppose Apple's demolition permit for Fed Square, our record-breaking $40-million crowdfunding campaign to outbid Apple’s offer for Fed Square’s Yarra Building is our last-ditch attempt to save our city and our public square. Fed Square needs just 70 cents per Victorian per year to avoid Apple's wrecking ball – so let's bid to buy-back our public space. If every Victorian contributes just $7, Fed Square can stay as our city's public square for at least the next decade! Head to our Crowdfunding-partner Pozible to pledge $7 and support the public buy-back of Fed Square. Don't forget to make a heritage submission to oppose Apple's demolition permit for Fed Square before Wednesday.

Fed Square needs just 70 cents per Victorian per year to avoid Apple's wrecking ball – so let's bid to buy-back our public space. If every Victorian contributes just $7, Fed Square can stay as our city's public square for at least the next decade!

Biggest Ever Crowdfunding Campaign Launched to "Buy Back Fed Square" before the Apple Demolition Permit is approved.

In late 2017 the State Government excitedly announced that an Apple megastore was coming to Melbourne's premiere public space - Fed Square. Last week, Fed Square applied for Apple's demolition permit to make this happen. 

The deal was a secret until the announcement. The terms have never been disclosed. Melburnians have never been asked what we want for our city's square. Victorians were told to accept this new reality: Fed Square is to be taken over by a giant global tech retailer as part of a generic 'Town Square' retail strategy, blatant corporate profiteering at the expense of our city and our square.

The Our City, Our Square campaign has led the fight to keep our public space public and Apple out of Fed Square. Our supporters are the citizens of this great city, who are sick of seeing their civic spaces sold off to the highest bidder. We're not anti-Apple, we're pro-democracy. At Fed Square, we want arts, culture and passive recreation - not another place to shop. Melbourne boasts just one large central square, and an Apple store can go anywhere in the CBD.

We've secured over 100,000 petition signatures against the sell-off. We've met with stakeholders from across the political spectrum that have granted us a meeting. We've inspired a heritage listing (likely to happen in April). We've repeatedly facilitated record numbers of submissions to the City of Melbourne, the State Government, Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council.

Not bad for a 100% volunteer group up against the State Government, Fed Square management and a trillion-dollar tech giant. It's only been possible because of hundreds of thousands of Victorians like you.

Let's play by Apple's rules

But now we've realised that we don't need to fight the system - we should instead play by their rules.

So, if Fed Square is up for grabs to the highest bidder, let's get together as the public to raise the money required to outbid the competition and take back our town square. We're the people who paid for it in the first place. Isn't that what the free market is all about?

Welcome to the biggest crowdfunding campaign ever launched.

Apple's deal with Fed Square is secret. But, based on demolition documents sent to Heritage Victoria, we guestimate that $4 million a year for 10 years should do it. That's $40 million - about one small suburban street worth of Melbourne real estate - to protect our town square for at least a decade. That's a bargain.

By State Government standards, the $40 million we're asking for is tiny. The annual state budget surplus is over $1 billion. The buildings at Fed Square alone are worth at least $544 million. Compare $40 million for Fed Square against the Melbourne Grand Prix ($57 million per annum), 1 kilometre of an eight-lane city freeway ($5.4m per lane per km in 2017), or the 2012 Arts Centre Hamer Hall redevelopment ($136 million). That's how little Fed Square is valued by our State Government, and we believe us citizens can easily match that.

Fed Square is our city's public square, and really shouldn't be up for grabs, but clearly everything has a price.

Budget Overview

Apple is reportedly needed because the State Government won't fund a measly $4 million per annum maintenance fund for Fed Square.

So it seems like a neat $40 million public capital injection right now should do the job and rid us of our rotten Apple forever.

Let’s put $40 million in perspective. Divided by 6 million Victorians, Fed Square only needs $7 from each of us to operate for the next 10 years. That’s less than the price of 2 coffees. Basically, 70 cents per Victorian per annum keeps Fed Square public into perpetuity. Is Fed Square worth 70 cents per year to you?

Loose change by government standards.

Small Print

P.S. Don't forget to also make a demolition permit objection before Wednesday:  www.OurCityOurSquare.org/Heritage.

P.P.S. You can afford to pledge lavishly to this crowdfunding campaign since we’ll only be collecting if the State Government agrees to our proposition for the public to buy back Fed Square for $40 million. Sadly, that’s unlikely. Satisfying Apple – rather than Victorians – is the Fed Square CEO's top priority.

P.P.P.S. Your pledge to the Fed Square NOT Apple Square Buy-Back Campaign makes an important statement: that you believe in publicly-funded public space. Your pledge will never be called upon.

Brett de Hoedt