Wollongong’s derelict Oxford Tavern is finally on the market, sparking hope from nearby business owners that development of the downtown block is in sight.
Joint realtors Jones Lang LaSalle and MMJ Wollongong have called for expressions of interest from developers, listing the site’s CBD location and potential for a commercial, retail and residential complex up to 48 metres high as key selling points.
‘‘The prominent gateway location, wide street frontages and the generous land size provides a wonderful redevelopment opportunity,’’ a press statement said.
Wollongong City Council is using part of the land for car parking, however the building has remained unused since it was shut down in mid-2010, seven months after the site’s owner, Wollongong City Plaza, was placed into administration.
Several business owners on lower Crown Street were yesterday optimistic about the sale, with many hoping a significant development on the site would reinvigorate the downtown precinct.
Travelworld Wollongong co-owner Zara Josevski said she would like to see a commercial building on the site, with the ground floor occupied by a deli, small supermarket or fruit barn.
‘‘This end of town deserves something special,’’ she said.
‘‘We don’t need another pub or cafe.’’
Moose and I owner Abbie Stewart said she hoped whatever was built on the site would attract more people into the lower end of Crown Street.
‘‘This is a vibrant street, except for this dead section,’’ she said, pointing to the Oxford site.
‘‘I’m happy for anything [there] that’s fresh and new for this part of the city.’’
Downtown Newsagency owner Noel Perry was also keen for any development on the site to have a social drawcard, saying many businesses, including his own, had suffered since Dwyers Motors had vacated its Corrimal Street block almost six years ago.
‘‘I hope it’s a quick expression of interest process and they [the realtors] find someone to buy it quickly,’’ he said, although he conceded it would be months, if not years, before any development started on the site.
Expressions of interest will close on October 24.