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Productivity – Reports

Ordinary Meeting - 12 February 2014

Sections 189 and 222 combine to require the Council to:  Place a Public Notice of its intention to sell land at least four weeks prior to selling  Consider all submissions received and provide a person with the opportunity to be heard in relation to their submission should they request to be heard  Have a valuation that is no more than six months old at the time of the sale completed by a Certified Practicing Valuer. Priority/Importance: It is important to continue to progress the sale of this property to enable it to be restored as soon as possible, which in turn will help stimulate additional private sector investment into central Bendigo. However, time is required to move methodically through the EOI process and ensure that the property ends up in the hands of an owner who understands the constraints and opportunities that this building presents. A holistic approach to its restoration and reactivation is required. Options/Alternatives: There are three options available to Council. It can agree to progress the EOI process as recommended in this report; it could recommend another sale process; or it could decide not to progress the sale of the property. The first two options both require public notice of Council’s intention to sell the property to be given as the first step in the sale process. Timelines: The public notice of Council’s intention to sell the property can be actioned within two weeks of Council resolving to progress the sale of the BME. It should be noted that a contract of sale cannot be entered into until at least one month after the publication of such notice. The Heritage Victoria permit application has been lodged and is expected to be granted towards the end of February 2014. The EOI documents cannot be finalised until the permit is received, as this is the critical approval which outlines the extent of the restoration and on what the contract of sale will be based on. A legal agreement is also being prepared that ties the sale of the property to the timely restoration of the BME. This is to ensure that the building does not sit empty for any longer than is necessary. The crux of the agreement is that if satisfactory progress is not made then the sale will be annulled. Agreements such as these are only used when a particular outcome is required to be achieved for the benefit of the community. The City has used a similar condition in recent years to good effect (with a site in Rowe Lane, Maiden Gully). All potential purchasers will be aware of the agreement from the start of the EOI process. At this stage it is proposed that the property will be marketed in March and April and the shortlisting of potential purchasers shortly after. It may take a several months to negotiate the sale from this point, but it could be expected that the sale and transfer of this property could be completed within six months of commencing the process.

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