Old and underused council properties could be up for sale

A worn and “underutilised” City of Melbourne-owned property on A’Beckett St is among four properties expected to go on the open market, following a community engagement process.

A report tabled at the May 31 council meeting proposed the sale of four properties owned by the council, with three others located on Canning St in Carlton, Abbotsford St in North Melbourne and Gatehouse Drive in Kensington.

“The current condition of these buildings does not support future needs without rebuilding or significant refurbishment, which is not considered financially viable,” the report read.

The property at 100-104 A’Beckett St, which has a heritage overlay, was most recently used as a staging post for the council’s cleaning program during COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the council operated a childcare centre at the building.

Perhaps the most significant of the four properties is the heritage-listed building located at 505-513 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne, which has been used for child and family health services and is currently leased to Cohealth until the end of June.

Pursuant to section 114 of the Local Government Act 2020, councillors voted unanimously on May 31 to authorise public notices of the “council’s intention to sell the land to be placed on council’s website”.

Before deciding to sell all four properties, the council must also seek community input and feedback.

Over a four-week period beginning in July 2022, the council says it will roll out meetings, a survey, a letter box drop and social media engagement targeted at surrounding owners and occupiers of each property, as well as the local community.

Each property will be considered individually on its own merits, taking account of the community engagement response.

If the council decides to sell the properties, it intends to reinvest proceeds into “city-shaping infrastructure projects” and the capital works program to provide vital community services. •

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