The West

Council eyes prime CBD block
Council eyes prime CBD block

Bunbury City Council is looking to lease or buy the site of the former St John of God Hospital and has entered into negotiations with owner Bunbury City Apartments Pty Ltd.

The South Western Times understands the council is interested in the Edward Street site for either a carpark or as a location for a multi-storey department store.

City of Bunbury CEO Andrew Brien told the Times the negotiations between the council and the site’s owner would be confidential until a final position was reached.

Spokesman for the owner— Habitat International managing director Jan Zuideveld — said the owner’s plans to build apartment towers at the site were unchanged by the negotiations.

‘‘It all means zero at the moment because we are so early in the discussions,’’ Mr Zuideveld said.

Mr Zuideveld said the owners wanted to sell part of the site and the council wanted to resolve its parking problems.

Demolition of the old St John of God Hospital, long considered Bunbury’s biggest eyesore, was mostly completed early this year and the site was expected to become a temporary carpark.

But a portion of the building remains after it was discovered it was used as a retaining wall for the adjacent Bury Hill.

The owner has until next April to find a way of removing the remainder of the building while stabilising the hill.

Development plans for the site had stalled in recent years due to the Global Financial Crisis, but the owner submitted a new proposal in May 2011, splitting the site into three ‘‘super lots’’.

The proposed apartment towers, at eight and seven storeys, would provide the city with an additional 120 units.

Mr Brien will report back to the council on the issue in early October.

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