The developer behind the proposed $90 million Launceston Creative Precinct has put a caveat on the old Birchall car park as a sale is yet to be achieved more than eight months after the project's announcement.
The Examiner understands the caveat was placed on the property due to a legal battle underway between the two companies, with developer Creative Holdings yet to strike a deal with Car Parks Super, the owner of the old Birchalls car park at 41-43 Paterson Street.
The City of Launceston council is attached to the creative precinct via its proposal to relocate the St John Street bus interchange to the site, and to redevelop the Birchalls building, which it purchased last year for $8.8 million.
It plans to link the interchange with the Brisbane Street Mall through the Birchalls building, which will make up the ground level of the creative precinct.
However, the old Birchalls car park still remains under the ownership of Car Parks Super, with a caveat placed on the property's title by Creative Property Holdings last Thursday.
The council confirmed it authorised funds for the purchase of the car park, which mayor Albert van Zetten said remained secure in the council's solicitor's trust account.
"Acquisition of the property is ongoing through a legal process," he said.
"The council has legal agreements with this company to facilitate the construction of a bus interchange on the site, post-acquisition.
"Council funds will not be used for development beyond the council's bus interchange project."
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It did not answer how much it had authorised, the amount in the solicitor's trust account or why the sale of the car park had not been completed.
Creative Property Holdings and Car Parks Super also did not comment on why the sale had not been completed.
The bus interchange must be completed by the end of 2022 as a condition of the council receiving a $10 million drought grant under the Building Better Regions Fund.
A spokesperson from Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack's office confirmed the project must be completed by December 31, 2022.
In order for the council to apply for the BRRF grant, it needed a letter from the land owner to confirm the project could be undertaken on site. The council did not answer whether it had this or not.
The council also received a $6 million no interest loan from the state government.
Cr van Zetten said the council remained committed to the delivery of the redeveloped Birchalls building and the construction of the new bus interchange.
"The council advertised an expressions of interest process for the redevelopment of the Birchalls building last year, and received eleven applications from developers interested in realising a transformative project on the site," he said.
"After a detailed assessment process, the most suitable developer candidates have been shortlisted.
"The shortlisted developers have proposed various projects for the site and the council expects to select a preferred developer later this year."
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A Creative Property Holdings spokesperson said it was unable to comment on the matter, other than they were looking forward to "exciting announcements soon".
The owner of the car park, Car Parks Super, was contacted for comment.
The Examiner has asked repeatedly to see the council's BBRF grant application.
Cr van Zetten said it was still finalising project details for its application and that process was nearly complete.
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