Upper Hunter Shire Council has purchased the iconic Campbell's Corner building in Scone.
Council exchanged on the property on December 23 2019, and will be taking out a $3.5 million loan to make the purchase and allow for some money for work to spruce up the 90-year-old building.
The brick framed building with a sweeping timber staircase, will undergo an estimated $1.8m restoration, staged over ten years. The biggest components of that restoration will be replacing the roof and repairing the facade. Other upgrades will include lighting, fire services, hot water services, and ventilation.
The building will provide Council with a commercial revenue stream.
Upper Hunter Shire Council General Manager Steve MacDonald said this income, coupled with the saving realised by not having to pay rent on the current Scone Library, will go towards offsetting the cost of servicing the loans and ongoing operational costs.
"As anybody who is aware of the building knows its a little bit tired, it needs some improvements so we're going to get $500,00 to make those improvements. We have a 10-year improvement plan for the building so with that we will basically be spending that money over 10 years."
"We hope to also apply for any grant funding for the relocation of the library, currently the library is located in another building and we pay a lease fee on that," he said.
The library will be moved into Campbell's Corner and Council plan to apply for loans to get that part of the job done.
"We will be setting up a working group within the Council so it won't happen in the near future, we will be applying for grants and what we want to try and do is get the concepts finalised, we will be speaking to the community about the concept of what it'll look like inside," said Steve MacDonald.
"It's been in the pipeline for over two years now so we've gone through a very thorough due diligence program for the building."
"It's an iconic building in Scone and we believe it will complement the revitalisation works in Kelly Street, and also with the carpark at the rear we will look at re configuring that to potentially accommodate motor-homes, caravans, even putting in charge points to try and encourage people from the highway into the Scone CBD, have a short stay, spend some money and then continue on their journey."
"We want to liven the space and make it more appealing for people to come and visit," said Steve MacDonald.
Council’s current Operational Plan 2019/20 lists an action to “investigate options for the development of a new library in Scone” and includes the purchase of a building in Council’s budget.
A Due Diligence Review including financial, building, zoning, tenancy and insurance assessments was conducted by external consultants, Prosper Group. The technical report on the state of the building and required repairs, was conducted by KPMG.
A Capital Expenditure Review was submitted to the Office of Local Government (OLG) for review, and approved. The key financial and due diligence information, in particular estimated rectification costs, is available on Council’s website http://upperhunter.nsw.gov.au/your-council/media/strategic-asset-purchase-project-updates.aspx
There are currently several commercial vacancies in Campbell’s Corner which Council will be seeking to fill.
There is a total lettable area of 2680m2 (or 75%) including a ground floor with ten shop spaces, common areas and amenities, and an expansive second storey with two current tenancies. There is also a vacant basement space and 63 space car park and loading dock.
Image credit: Upper Hunter Shire Council