Up to 90 residential apartments have been scrapped from the development plans for the former Daily Liberal site on Macquarie Street.
MAAS Group Family Properties general manager Steve Guy said the decision was made in order to preserve the heritage Old Bank building, and to ease the development application’s passing through the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
“Council wanted us to strictly comply with the state government planning guidelines and the heritage item drives a wedge in the middle of our site and pushes the development out to the side,” Mr Guy said.
“We still think that we could make it work but at the end of the day the council is recommending our report to the JRPP and we want council to endorse our proposal.
“It’s a beautiful building. We’re trying to make it the jewel in the crown of the whole site and it’s a draw card to that end of town.”
When it was first announced in November 2017, the project was set to feature contemporary ground floor retail and upper level commercial office space, 200 serviced apartments and up to 90 residential apartments.
But the amended plans will see the maximum height of the development drop from 14 storeys to 10, and reduce the car parking requirement from 509 to 329.
The changes have drastically reduced the price tag. When MGFP first lodged the DA with council, the project was valued at almost $115 million. It now has an estimated cost of $84.4 million.
Construction is still set to be carried out in two stages: first, the ‘north tower’ featuring serviced apartments and commercial uses on the former daily Liberal site, and the lower storeys of the ‘south tower’; second, the remainder of the ‘south tower’, including serviced apartments, on the site currently occupied by the Old Bank Music Shop and adjacent vacant land.
The music shop building will be demolished.
A “curtilage” area around the Old Bank will include ‘The Liberal Laneway’, which will accommodate public dining and act as a “passive recreation area”.
But Mr Guy said “it’s about what’s best for the whole site and the development in the future”.
“By taking a little bit longer, it’s only assuring the development is feasible and a good fit for Dubbo,” he said.
MGFP hopes to have its DA before the JRPP in December, for construction to start “in the new year”.