Building sale hits a major hurdle
THE sale of Council buildings to help fund the Cultural and Civic Space has hit a major hurdle.
The disposal of four Coffs Harbour City Council buildings is an integral part of the funding model for the controversial $76.5m Gordon Street project.
But following the completion of an expression of interest marketing campaign there have only been offers made on three of the buildings and they were all below market value.
The buildings in question are: Council's Administration Building in Castle St; Rigby House at 27-29 Duke Street; the Museum on Harbour Drive; and buildings at 169-171 Rose Avenue.
The Rose Avenue holding didn't attract any offers.
The recommendation before Coffs Harbour City Councillors at their meeting on Thursday will be to 'formally reject the offers and continue to negotiate with prospective buyers to obtain a fair and reasonable market price for each holding'.
Burgess Rawson conducted the expression of interest campaign which concluded on April 9 and the agency has acknowledged the obvious impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"While we are disappointed with the low volume of offers received, as well as the conservative price points put forward by these parties, the current Covid-19 position and resulting economic environment, particularly with respect to buyers being able to secure finance on these properties with the current lease terms as offered, has no doubt dampened market appetite for these types of assets," a statement from the agency outlined.
Any future sale of the Castle St administration building, Rigby House and the museum would be based on the proviso Council can continue to rent the buildings for at least three years while the Cultural and Civic Space is being built.
The agency agreement with Burgess Rawson is in place to June 30 this year which will allow for further negotiations to reach an acceptable sale price.
If a reasonable offer is not received it's likely that a further report would be brought back to Council detailing alternative funding options for the Cultural and Civic Space Project.
The economic impacts of Covid-19 have been raised by parties on both sides of this divisive issue.
Both the Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh and NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock have urged Council to halt the project in light of the pandemic.
But Mayor Denise Knight and Crs Sally Townley, Michael Adendorff and George Cecato believe projects like these are vital to help stimulate the economy post-pandemic.
It is hoped the sale of the buildings will fetch around $20m to go towards the Gordon Street project with the remaining funds coming from loans and grants.
The development application for the Cultural and Civic Space is currently being assessed by the NSW Government's Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.