Woolworths has confirmed it will demolish the vacant Food for Less building.
In a statement to the Port Macquarie News, a spokesperson for the grocery giant said the decision to demolish the building on the corner of Short and William streets was due to community concerns.
Woolworths also confirmed its commitment to a ‘new retail shopping experience’.
“In response to community concerns about safety and security of the site, we’ve taken the decision to demolish the vacant building on Short and William streets,” the spokesperson said.
“The demolition requires (Port Macquarie-Hastings) Council approval and we will shortly submit a DA for their consideration.
“We are fully committed to Port Macquarie and look forward to bringing a new retail shopping experience to local residents in the future.”
The news was welcomed by community leaders.
The community expectation for that site is very clear - no loss of car parking, no loss of foreshore and an activation of the foreshore.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said there was a ‘clear’ community expectation for the site.
“I welcome the news that Woolworths plan to demolish the former Food for Less building,” Mrs Williams said.
“The community expectation for that site is very clear - no loss of car parking, no loss of foreshore and an activation of the foreshore.
“I support our community’s wishes to see this area redeveloped in line with the Plan of Management,” Mrs Williams said.
Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce president Hadyn Oriti said the decision is welcomed by the chamber.
“This is good news. And it is good to get rid of the eyesore that is the gateway to the Port Macquarie CBD,” he said.
“I think Woolworths, Council and Crown Lands need to get together, along with the chamber – and we are happy to participate – to work out a future for not only the Food For Less site but also the Plaza Car Park.
“That should be done in consultation.
“While chamber is certainly not an owner, we have an interest in what happens on that car park site.”
Mr Oriti said that Woolworths has its own objectives (for the site), but the chamber and the wider community needs to be able to address the grocer’s objectives and the community’s objectives in regards to the car parking issue.
“But getting rid of that eyesore is a good start,” he added.
A Port Macquarie-Hastings Council spokesperson said council was yet to receive notification from Woolworths about its plans for the site.
“A DA has not yet been lodged (for demolition),” the spokesperson said.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Foreshore Protection Association was contacted for comment.