A proposed commercial development at the Murrumbidgee Mill site valued at $27.9 million has been conditionally recommended by Wagga City Council and will be assessed by the Southern Regional Joint Planning Panel next week.
The development application submitted by previous Mill developers Interlink Wagga Central Pty Ltd is for a new hotel, function centre and commercial building, and links to their existing mixed use development approval.
In an assessment report conditionally approved by council, the proposed hotel will include 156 rooms, a function centre fit to accommodate 200 persons.
Wagga City Council’s manager of city development Paul O’Brien said the proposal could “create jobs” and “attract further investment from businesses”.
“The proposed $27.9M development for a new hotel, function centre and commercial building is a significant investment in Wagga,” he said.
“If approved, it will provide modern facilities and services for Wagga and visitors, as well as celebrating the heritage of the former flour mill site.
“The importance of restoring and re-using the iconic heritage building cannot be overlooked and, if approved, the development ensures that The Mill buildings are preserved for the benefit of the city.”
Councillor Vanessa Keenan welcomed the proposal’s progress, citing the hotel plans as indicative of Wagga’s growth.
“Wagga is providing more and more attractions and I believe there’s always a demand for accommodation.”
“Often we’ll have a number of events during which time accommodation is totally booked out, so I think this proposal can only be a good thing for the city and for catering to visitors’ varying needs,” Cr Keenan said.
The new application includes internal and external roadworks, signage, parking, landscaping and subdivisions while the commercial building will have a floor area of 2272 square metres.
Mr O’Brien said the applicant had also submitted a traffic impact assessment for the bordering Sturt Highway.
“Roads and Maritime Services are currently working on the section of the highway to the front of The Mill site and the adjacent Amart site to establish channelised turning lanes, medians and associated lane markings, which will improve traffic management in relation to the site,” he said.
Early concerns have been raised over the proposed central service area of the hotel building as it extends to 27.1 metres, exceeding the LEP ‘Height of Buildings’ standard of 25 metres.
However, council has proposed to overlook this excess, stating in their report that “there is no public benefit to achieving strict compliance with the 25 metre height limit in this instance and no detrimental environmental impacts are foreseen”.
The Southern Join Regional Planning Panel will meet on Tuesday, February 20, to determine a verdict.