Work on Clarence House site could start soon

CLARENCE House will be one of the most significant developments in the Port Macquarie CBD in a number of years.

The development application (DA)  for the 2050 square metre corner block on 18-20 Clarence Street has been lodged.

And the proposal for the $2.8 million development shows a renewed confidence in the market, commercial property consultant Darby Munro says.

"The project is up-and-running, and at last, it looks like the economy is ready for it," Mr Munro said.

Port Macquarie-Hastings council confirmed the DA for Clarence House and a $12.5 million redevelopment of the El Paso building were significant developments for the area.

Plans for the two-storey, multi-service complex on Clarence St could come to fruition as soon as council gives the project the thumbs-up. 

"Once it has been approved construction would begin immediately I would imagine," Mr Munro said. "There is definitely enough interest to lock it down."

Current plans for the site include a 1000sqm office block on the first-level, 1000sqm aimed at specialty food stores below and on-site parking for some 35 cars.

First-level spaces would be leased at up to 400sqm and the ground-level stores could be as large as 200sqm, Mr Munro said.

And the 100 per cent commercial building would be meeting the demands of the local area.

"There's a demand for better, high-quality offices in the area and more specialty food outlets." 

Property owner and developer Bob Todd said they had already received substantial interest for specialty restaurants.

"I thought there was already enough restaurants in town," Mr Todd said. "But anyone who opens up a great restaurant will do very well here."

The design concept includes the necessary requirements for specialty restaurants, to make the stores work-place-ready for potential lessors.

More than two years in the making, Mr Todd said the lodgement had been a long time coming and he was confident council would give it the go-ahead.

Because of the site's historical significance as a former Post Office in the 1820s, the project was still awaiting approval from the Heritage Council in Sydney.

A compulsory archaeological dig was conducted by Edward Higginbotham & Associates which unearthed remains of building foundations and a large brick barrel drain running underneath the site.

But architects Chris Jenkins Design would ensure the building incorporates a proper display of its history in line with the NSW Heritage Act, Mr Todd said.

Mr Munro hoped council would provide an outcome on the DA in January, but said Christmas holidays could slow the process.

"It's a very good looking building," Mr Munro said, "And we are very proud to be representing it."

Interested persons can contact Darby Munro from commercial property consultants D.R.Munro (nominees) on 0438 832 245 or email drmunro@bigpond.net.au

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