Wagga GFC victim finally sold to developers

Artists' rendition of the original plans for the recently-sold site.
Artists' rendition of the original plans for the recently-sold site.

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Wagga could soon see new waterfront apartments with the sale of a notable Global Financial Crisis casualty.

Fitzpatricks Real Estate negotiated the sale of the large development site on Sturt Street, behind Romano’s Hotel, which had been listed for about $1.8 million.

The reportedly “healthy market response” saw the site sold for an undisclosed sum.

The site was approved for a multi-level apartment development in 2006, but the project was put on hold when the American housing bubble burst the following year, scuttling investments around the world.

In 2016 the site was rezoned and the density varied to allow the development of residential apartments once more.

Selling agent Greg Howick said it was pleasing to see the confidence of local developers in the city with a number of out-of-town investors having also shown active interest.

“The central location within easy access to shops and restaurants is brilliant and the river and rural views will be sought after,” Mr Howick said.

“Add to this the riverside precinct development plans and you have a very appealing place for apartment living.”

However, Mr Howick confirmed the buyers were local developers with “a sound track record in development in the city” and a proposal for “a quality apartment development” was being prepared.

Development approval is expected to be sought in the near future with completion expected early 2019.

After the original development was scrapped, Wagga’s planning rules were changed, but a 2016 meeting of the policy and strategy committee saw a multi-storey development but back on the table. One of the concerns noted by the committee was the proximity to the river and the risk of flooding, but it is believed flood risks will be assessed as part of any future development plan, which will likely include the pending upgrade of the levee bank.

Councillor and property developer Kerry Pascoe said he applauded the buyer and hoped to see work commence soon.

“The block sat empty for a long time and we’re a progressive city so of course I’d like to see something done on that site,” Cr Pascoe said. 

“That’s a restaurant area, a cosmopolitan area and I think it’s an excellent outcome that it’s been sold.”