Council out to seal CBD land site deal

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

A long-awaited multi-million dollar Civic and Cultural Precinct will be bolstered by a land grab if negotiations to buy the South’s Furniture building are successful.

Bunbury City Council is negotiating a price with the owners of the now closed CBD business following a decision behind closed doors on Tuesday night.

The price of the Wellington Street building is being kept under wraps for commercial in reasons, but will be revealed once a deal is locked in.

Mayor Gary Brennan told the South Western Times the building was likely to be incorporated into the Civic and Cultural Precinct that was being drawn up by architects.

“It’s a very strategic site,” Mr Brennan said.

“The idea is the council obviously has recognised its strategic value for the very long-term of our city.

“The Souths building occupies about 1400sq m, so you add that to the existing car parking area and you’ve got a significant CBD site.

“That gives future council a number of options, certainly it’s an integral part of the Civic and Cultural Precinct which we’re still considering.”

The precinct proposal began in 2015 and includes a multi-deck carpark, civic square, new art gallery and possible retail and residential opportunities.

The $6.3 million from the council’s sale of the Cornwall Street carpark has been earmarked for the precinct, which is also reliant on extra money, including State and Federal funding.

Bollig Design Group is putting together concepts for the precinct, but is expected to now wait until negotiations over the Souths building are completed.

Mr Brennan said a deal was likely to be made within a fortnight.

“We’re not talking about any major delay but certainly if that site’s included then that will be another element to the Civic and Cultural Precinct,” he said.

“My view is that there will be a fairly quick response from the family to the negotiations, I don’t see them being drawn out.”

One of Bunbury’s longest-standing furniture stores, the company closed its doors last year.

Mr Brennan said the South family approached the council to gauge its interest in buying the building.

He said he hoped the community understood why the price was being kept quiet.

“There will be other parties no doubt interested and the city wishes to proceed with the family as best we can,” he said.

“Because it’s commercial in confidence, the purchase offer remains confidential. If the sale is concluded to the city’s satisfaction then we will make every aspect of that available to the public.”

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