Not for the first time council believes it is close to striking a deal with a purchaser for Eden's Hotel Australasia but this time the potential buyer is much closer to home.
Rankin Builders has confirmed that it is in discussion over the purchase of Eden's Hotel Australasia.
The company is owned by Neil Rankin and Don Hassan and on Wednesday, May 15 Mr Hassan confirmed the rumours that have been circulating.
"Discussions have taken place with council but council is still working through their options," Mr Hassan said.
He added that it Neil Rankin who was mainly involved in the talks .
In order to process the negotiations council has made some changes to its original sale conditions. If the sale goes ahead the final sale price and conditions are likely to be of considerable interest to the community but it is unlikely council will recoup the $700,000 spent on purchase, maintenance and legal costs.
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"In amongst the detail of the sale there is a possibility of community space on the top floor if council's latest resolution on the building meets with the purchaser's agreement.
In the closed session of the council meeting May 8 it was agreed that the mayor and general manager would negotiate the sale on the basis of the previous deed of sale but with some changes.
Council had expected to sell the hotel previously to Irisha Pty Ltd and Rubycove Pty Ltd but soon after the sale broke down the Magnet revealed the main proponent Simon Petzierides of Irisha had been charged with fraud relating to previous building projects. Mr Petzierides remains in custody at this time.
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Previously legal advisors prepared a list of special conditions as well as a side deed to be annexed to the contract for sale to ensure that restoration milestones were met by the purchaser. They also prepared a public positive covenant to complete the restoration works, development and use of laneway and ensure ongoing maintenance of the hotel facade.
There was also a restriction on use to prevent alteration of the facade without the consent of council, which was to be registered on title prior to settlement and an easement in gross to grant a right of footway and for the ongoing maintenance of the laneway.
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The laneway condition was previously listed as an item that the purchaser wanted to discuss and council agreed to modify the previous deed to accommodate both vehicular and pedestrian access.
Council has agreed to accept the price that has been offered but in return wants the option for use of the top floor for a community purpose for a token agreed rent for 10 years (commencing at the time of occupation), with an option to extend and with fit out to be at the occupant's cost.
Council said it would undertake community engagement regarding the use of the top floor of the building.
The Eden Access Centre had previously made representations to council over its potential use of the hotel, should it be renovated.
Speaking to council earlier this year the Access Centre's Julian Webb said that the centre was desperately short of space and would be happy to act as the head lessee.
However the top floor alone would not be sufficient for the Access Centre and its burgeoning list of service suppliers.
"I urge you to keep the Hotel Australasia and use it for the Access Centre and library," Mr Webb told council. However it now seems that the Access Centre will have to look elsewhere.