Thursday, April 25, 2024

$500k renovation for historic North Geelong site

A renovation and safety upgrade to the historic Osborne House and stables in North Geelong is now complete, marking the first step in a planned major redevelopment of the site.

The City of Greater Geelong Council has carried out more than $500,000 in restoration works, including underpinning and stabilisation of the stable walls, followed by façade repairs and painting.

The works also included repair or replacement of 40 windows and more than 40 French doors throughout the main bluestone building.

A new fire detection system featuring 23 detectors is now monitored off-site and linked with a security system, while drainage has been installed in the car park.

Chair of the Osborne House portfolio, Councillor Eddy Kontelj said the work had improved safety and restored the beauty in some areas of the 1800s buildings.

“Osborne House and the stables have significant heritage value and sit in an important location on the North Geelong waterfront,” he said.

“The works have made an improvement to the way the buildings look, and also ensured they can be safely accessed and enjoyed by the community once the future use of the site is decided.

“While these initial works are encouraging and were necessary, there is still much work to do.”

In May this year the council launched an expressions of interest process seeking partners to help redevelop the Osborne House precinct.

Discussions are now continuing with potential partners on their visions for restoring the significant heritage buildings and transforming the precinct with a mix of community, public and commercial uses. This would be consistent with the concept of a community and cultural heritage precinct.

Retention of the buildings’ heritage values will also be prioritised, Cr Kontelj said.

“The council has committed to keeping Osborne House in public hands, meaning any partnership will not involve the sale of the land or buildings,” he said.

Chair of the Finance portfolio, Tony Aitken said council has allocated a further $8 million for restoration of the precinct over the next four years.

“The works completed so far are the first step in what we hope will be an exciting journey towards opening this important site back up for the community and celebrating its heritage value,” Cr Aitken said.

“The expressions of interest process has unearthed some promising ideas, which we are working through with the potential partners.”

The total cost of redevelopment has been estimated at approximately $21 million, depending on the final plans.

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