Clarence Valley Council (CVC) will auction six of its property holdings on August 2 and 6, to meet its “Fit for the Future strategy for property rationalisation [and] to reduce duplication and operating costs”.
At the November 2015 council meeting, councillors made the decision to sell nine properties, which have been independently valued at $5.305 million, although details of each property’s valuation are confidential.
However, some of the properties’ “estimated values” were listed in CVC’s Fit for the Future submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART): the council’s works depot at Bruce Street, Grafton, for example, was valued at $300,000.
This site and the council’s Victoria Street offices (valued at $1m in the IPART submission), which are to be sold at a Sydney auction on August 2, come with leaseback guarantees.
The purchaser of the 1.177 hectare Bruce Street property, which is zoned R1 General Residential, will be guaranteed a three-year leaseback to CVC at “$82,500 per annum, with two three-year options to Clarence Valley Council as the single occupant”.
The purchaser of the Victoria Street property, described in First National Ford and Dougherty’s marketing information as a “1,410m² commercial zoned (B3) parcel within a high value fringe CBD precinct of Grafton”, will be offered “a five-year leaseback at $210,000pa + GST with two-five year options to Clarence Valley Council as single occupant”.
The purpose of the leaseback arrangement is to allow CVC sufficient time to rehouse employees during the “rationalisation of its works depots and administration offices [so as] to reduce duplication and operating costs”.
In the case of the Bruce Street site, the purchaser will have to take into account a comprehensive site contamination report, prepared for CVC by Cavvanba Consulting.
Rod Ford, from Ford and Dougherty, said the future use of the site and the types of remediation conducted “would be dependent on the how the purchaser uses the property”.
As well as remediation, if the block were to be converted into residential blocks (for example), substantial fill would be required to raise the block above flood levels.
The leaseback agreements also mean that the tenants, being the council, would be responsible for paying the annual rates and charges: $19,123.78 for Bruce Street and $9,320.58 for Victoria Street.
The four other properties – 29-31 Brickworks Lane, 110 Spring Street, 32 Mulgi Drive (all at South Grafton) and 70 Pound Street, Grafton – will be auctioned at each site on August 6.
Sites to be sold but not yet on the market are the vacant weeds depot at Lilypool Road, South Grafton, the South Grafton depot at 11 Schwinghammer Street and 1 McNaughton Place, Maclean.
The council’s corporate director Ashley Lindsay said: “A contamination investigation and subsequent report will be prepared before we proceed with the auctions for both the Lilypool Road depot and the depot at Schwinghammer Street, South Grafton.
“These reports will be made available to potential buyers during the marketing of both properties.”
On the Maclean property, the November 2015 council meeting minutes state: “Planning has also commenced for the relocation of staff from the McNaughton Place, Maclean offices to 50 River Street Maclean.
“Once planning is complete, a report will be presented to Council at a future meeting for a suitable budget allocation to be provided to effect [sic] these moves.”
At the March 2016 council meeting, it was decided that the McNaughton Place property, pending minor boundary adjustments to ensure that CVC retains ownership of the riverfront land on which the flood levee is situated, can proceed to sale as per the November meeting’s resolution.
“The net proceeds from the sale of this property will be transferred to the Water Fund, as this building is a Water Fund asset,” the report to council states.
A report, outlining the details of the sales and associated conditions, is due to be tabled at a forthcoming council meeting.