Grand plans for a rooftop bar in the Wagga CBD have been scuppered after the building was suddenly sold to different buyers.
A group of local developers have swooped in to purchase the abandoned bank at 41 Fitzmaurice Street, despite Birdhouse creator Scott Pearce having an offer accepted for the building in December.
The abrupt sale has forced Mr Pearce to withdraw his plans to transform the site into a classy cocktail bar and live music hub.
It is believed the group who purchased the building plan to refurbish it and lease it out as office space.
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Mr Pearce says he spent months waiting for his purchase to be confirmed while the owner recovered from health issues, but on February 21 the building was suddenly sold.
"It's extremely frustrating," he said. "It got sold out from underneath us."
Mr Pearce had been negotiating through Raine & Horne Wagga but the sale of the building was ultimately completed by Fitzpatricks Real Estate.
Fitzpatricks director Geoff Seymour said a group of local developers was behind the purchase.
He said the developers are looking to rework the former Commonwealth Bank venue into offices and lease it out to local businesses.
The offices would be a big leap from Jungle - the Melbourne-style rooftop bar Mr Pearce had planned for the site.
Mr Pearce said missing out on the building means he must go "back to the drawing board", but he has not given up on the project entirely.
"We're definitely going to still try and find a place," he said. "Jungle is ours, it's still alive and it's just about trying to find another building."
The proposed cocktail bar had been hailed as a sign of the changing drinking culture in Wagga and the concept was very well-received by the community.
Mr Pearce said this made the news all the more disheartening.
"It's disappointing because it would have been good for the community," he said.
"People were really interested and it's not just us that are missing out it's the whole community."
Raine & Horne Wagga director Craig Tait had been negotiating Mr Pearce's attempted purchase of the building.
He said he had been in regular contact with the owner and that contracts had been drawn up before the sudden sale.
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