Bunnings tipped for Gunns Lindsay Street site

FORESTRY company Gunns is close to selling its Launceston Lindsay Street site to national hardware retailer Bunnings.

Gunns managing director Greg L'Estrange told staff on Monday that the there was a firm offer for the site.

It is understood that there have been negotiations for some time.

The entire 5.2-hectares on the former Ogilvie Park sports grounds - which incorporates the company's corporate headquarters - will be included in the sale.

Mr L'Estrange has refused to comment on when the administrative base would move or how long he would remain at the head of the company.

But he has confirmed several times in recent months that everything, including the Lindsay Street headquarters, was on the table as Gunns sells assets to raise money for the pulp mill.

Gunns will take more than 12 months to move from Lindsay Street, which includes kiln- drying facilities and thousands of racks of timber.

One option for its administration base would be the proposed pulp mill site at Bell Bay, if the $2.3 billion project goes ahead.

The timeframe would allow Bunnings to lodge its development application and acquire the permits to build a new super store and warehouse at Lindsay Street, which is within five minutes of the city centre.

It is understood that Bunnings has already had talks with Launceston City Council officers about the development.

It is understood that Woolworths wanted the Gunns site for its proposed Big W but declared its interest too late after serious negotiations had started with Bunnings.

Both Gunns and Bunnings declined to comment yesterday.

A proposal for the long-vacant C. H. Smith site is also close to being lodged with the council and will include electrical retail.

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