A cafe, offices to service up to 350 workers and a council-owned 300 space car park is set to revive Launceston’s controversial CH Smith site.
Developers Errol Stewart and Scott Curran released their plans to the public on Monday.
“It’s certainly more than just a car park. We are going to build a 5000 square metre office building on the first level, so basically entry off Cimitiere and off Charles street,” Mr Stewart said.
“All the heritage buildings get retained and restored in the appropriate manner and the building itself provides a lot of car parking underneath, and on top and revitalises the city.”
Mr Stewart said he hoped to see the development application approved by January, with construction to start immediately after.
The entire project should be completed by late 2018 and has a budget of about $20 million, including the purchase of the land.
Mr Curran, ARTAS Architects principal, said the new building was designed to complement the existing nature of the site, while maximising the usable floor space.
“We felt that it was important to utilise as many of those existing buildings as we could as part of this overall scheme and I think probably that’s the main difference we have from what other developers have tried to do,” he said.
Mr Stewart said the project would not have got off the ground if the state government and the Launceston City Council had not been prepared to support them.
"It is a difficult site to develop make no mistake, it’s got some constraints, some difficulties … but both the City Council and government said they didn’t want this to be a retail space, as we didn’t want to hurt the fabric of the city,” he said.
“And on the other hand it was very important that every bit of heritage value of the site is retained.”
The developers will subdivide the site, and gift land to the council, which has sought a $9 million loan from the state government to build the car park.
“In years to come, I think historians will note that 2016 was the year in which Launceston finally found a way forward for the C.H. Smith site, one which protected the best elements of our past, and paved the way for a positive future,” Mayor Albert van Zetten said.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the council's proposal "fits exactly within the parament of the Northern Economic Stimulus Package" and he looked forward to receiving the loan application.
- FIRST LOOK: CH Smith plan-unveiled | Video, photos
- CH Smith timeline: revival efforts over 20 years
- Council votes on CH Smith site: Live Tweets
- Launceston City Council supports CH Smith plan
- Council’s audacious plan for CH Smith site | Video
- A new era for CH Smith site | Pictures, Video
- Exploring the value of Launceston's CH Smith site