Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski, senior strategic planner Richard Jamieson and Mayor Albert van Zetten outside the C. H. Smith site in Charles Street. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS
IT'S been a long wait but an incoming wrecking ball is set to create a new lease of life for Launceston's most iconic derelict building.
Part of the C. H. Smith site, which has lain dormant for decades, will be demolished next week.
Property group Brile said it was excited to finally start demolition works, part of its $30 million retail redevelopment for the Charles Street site.
``Given the controversial and sensitive history and nature of the C. H. Smith site we have exercised great caution and consideration in both the design and tenancy mix so that this development is one that the community can be proud to support,'' Brile's financial controller Peter Velt said.
``Recognised for its heritage significance by both the community and the developer, extensive portions of the remaining facade and building will be retained and integrated into the new development as well as the re-use of original timbers and bricks.''
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten, who along with aldermen approved the development last year, said it was a symbolic turning point for the city.
``The C. H. Smith site has become an icon for all the wrong reasons - a symbol of stalled development and halted progress,'' Alderman van Zetten said.
``This redevelopment promises to turn this derelict and controversial eyesore into something the city can once more be proud of.''
The plan is to develop the one-hectare chunk of city fringe, with frontages on Charles, Canal and Cimitiere streets, in to a three-storey retail centre with 270 car parking spaces.
It's expected to house more than 20 stores ranging from retail to restaurants, but Brile is remaining quiet on exactly who the the new neighbours will be.
Mr Velt said many would be making their first appearance in Launceston and forecast at least 100 jobs would be created once the centre opened.
Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the project would breathe new life in to the city.
``Launceston has struggled for many years to attract appropriate redevelopment of this site,'' Mr Dobrzynski said.
``Today we have succeeded and the council is proud of the role it has played.''
The C. H. Smith building will be demolished in three stages with the first two phases to include knocking down pylons and buildings.
The third stage will include stabilisation of the remaining facades. An archaeological survey will be carried out before construction starts.
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