City of Greater Geraldton offer to buy burnt down Victoria Hotel and old Blue Heelers Tavern site

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Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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An artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it.
Camera IconAn artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

The City of Greater Geraldton will offer to buy the old Victoria Hotel site and the block behind it for redevelopment, after the derelict building was destroyed in a fire earlier this year.

At its ordinary April meeting on Tuesday the council narrowly passed the motion, seven votes to five, to offer to buy the current vacant site at Lot 151 Marine Terrace and 153 Lester Avenue West End after discussing the confidential item behind closed doors.

Clearing the rubble of Geraldton's newly-demolished Victoria Hotel and Blue Heelers Tavern on Sunday, February 28 2021.
Camera IconClearing the rubble of Geraldton's newly-demolished Victoria Hotel and Blue Heelers Tavern on Sunday, February 28 2021. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian

Mr Van Styn moved to have the City’s executive team explore possibilities for the purchase and development of the property, formerly home to the Blue Heelers Tavern, at the council’s March meeting, and said he expected the block to cost about 10 per cent of what it had originally been bought for.

Whilst there are no formal plans and no guarantees the transaction will proceed, we are continuing to put options forward to take control of derelict sites across Geraldton,

Mayor Shane Van Styn said.

Property records show it last sold for $3.3 million in 2008 with the owners of the super-block site, which houses several other used and abandoned buildings, Geraldton Investments Pty Ltd, collapsing in 2019.

Hundreds of locals took to the mayor’s Facebook page to suggest what they would like done with the site, with the majority of commenters supportive of the move.

An artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it.
Camera IconAn artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

“Beautiful trees in the middle of town. Perfect, would be awesome to have a small playground there too ... enough for a mum to get a coffee and sit under a tree and relax while her child plays,” Heidi Teakle wrote.

“I’d give someone’s arm and a leg to have someone put in a bid to erect a Pot Black Pool and Snooker Center on that site,” Faith Marshall wrote.

An artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it.
Camera IconAn artists impression of what the old Victoria Hotel site could look like if the City of Greater Geraldton are successful in their bid to purchase it. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

“ More family friendly indoor activities? Like bowling or bounce or mini golf etc. Geraldton is a very ‘out door activity’ based town,” Alec Williamson wrote.

Mr Van Styn previously said if council took a “patient, long-term position” on developing the block, it could encourage other inner city development.

The council’s report included artist impressions of potential uses for the site.

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