With the Hotel Australasia on council’s agenda once again, former mayor Michael Britten says council needs to ensure it is looking at the true value of the site, in addition to its heritage value.
Mr Britten was a strong advocate for council buying the Australasia when he was a councillor and continues to believe that it has considerable value to the community. Council borrowed $1 million to purchase the building which cost $550,000, with the remaining money set aside for facade renovations.
He lists the laneway at the side of the building which gives access from Eden’s main street to the public car park at the rear of the hotel as being worth about $300,000. In the latest request for expressions of interest for the building, council recognised the importance of the laneway stipulating that it should remain in council’s control.
The building also has an area at the back of the building which can accommodate 54 car parking spaces, some of which is already sealed. Car parking spaces in Eden are currently valued at between $4000 and $10,000 depending on whether they have been sealed. This puts a conservative value on the 54 spaces in the region of $300,000.
“Council shouldn’t proceed with the sale of the whole site because they have a car parking code, listed in section 94 and 94A contribution plans which indicates that the area around the Australasia is identified as being needed for future car parking in the town,” Mr Britten said.
“All of our towns suffer because they don’t have the parking they need and we should be getting what we can now.”
With the increase in visitors through tourism generally and the cruise ships Mr Britten believes that the hotel’s location in the centre of town is ideally suited for both picking up and dropping off cruise visitors and using part of the building as a tourist information centre. He believes that once renovated the building could be rented out and return funds to council. The building also has plumbing infrastructure which could be used to provide public toilets in the centre of town, something that is very expensive to provide from scratch.
He also points to council’s willingness to buy the Plumb Motors site in Bega for $650,000 for car parking. Around 90 spaces are expected to be provided after a further $300,000-400,000 is spent on sealing.
“Everyone is fixated just on its heritage value but it has much more value than that,” he said.
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