Sale process to fund Cultural and Civic Space moves ahead
THE sale of four council buildings to help fund the new Cultural and Civic Space is moving ahead.
Expressions of interest closed on April 9.
The Advocate understands that a report on the expressions of interest will go before Councillors at the next Coffs Harbour City Council meeting on May 14.
The buildings up for sale are Council's Castle Street Administration Building, Rigby House, Coffs Harbour Regional Museum and buildings in Rose Avenue.
Real estate commercial agents Burgess Rawson have been handling the marketing campaign and expressions of interest for council.
They were appointed after an open tender process to select a real estate agency. They can be sold separately or as a single package.
Council plans to rent the administration building, Rigby House and Coffs Harbour regional museum for at least three years while the new Cultural and Civic Space is being built on Gordon Street.
The sale is expected to raise approximately $20m, which will be put towards the $76.52m cost of the project.
Critics of the project say that in light of the economic downturn due to Covid-19 it is unlikely the properties will fetch the required price.
In addition to funds from the sale of buildings, Council was hoping to apply for a loan from the State Government's financial authority, TCorp.
But when Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock appeared on commercial radio last week she pointed out that legislative changes due to Covid-19 prohibit loans for works on council offices.
Mayor Denise Knight says there are other sources of loan funding and she remains committed to the project which she says will provide added stimulus to the economy in these tough times.
She says that budget planning to date shows no special rate variations are needed based on cost estimates.
The new building will include a regional gallery, central library, regional museum, multipurpose meeting rooms - one of which can be used as the Council Chamber for meetings - a co-working space, shop, cafe, the family history group, function space, customer service area and offices and basement carparking.
Construction is expected to start later this year with a completion date set for 2022.