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Council Progresses Vision for Future of Hamilton CBD

8 March 2023

Council’s vision for a new CBD precinct, complete with Government Hub, new Library and Digital Hub took another step forward in February with the agreement to purchase buildings at 121 Brown Street and 92 Lonsdale Street.

The former Presbyterian Church at 121 Brown Street and 92 Lonsdale Street which currently houses Toyworld, will add to the land already purchased at 90 Lonsdale Street to deliver an innovative precinct in the heart of Hamilton.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr David Robertson said the purchase of these additional buildings is the next step forward in progressing the vision for the area.

“Council’s purchase of these properties, together with the previous purchase of 90 Lonsdale Street support the broader Council vision for the development of a vibrant and connected civic precinct in the Hamilton CBD.

“The 2020 Hamilton CBD Activation Master Plan reflects Council and community aspirations to rejuvenate the CBD, linking the CBD through to Lonsdale Street and Melville Oval, activating our laneways and public spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Our vision is for the CBD to become a community hub, highlighted with a civic square, public art, signage and greenspaces, with easy walking and cycling.

“The larger footprint enabled by the purchase of these premises will allow us to meet the objectives to the relocate the Hamilton Library, establish a shared Government Hub and an all new Digital Hub into one location activating and rejuvenating the CBD,” said Cr Robertson.

“Furthermore, this supports the redevelopment of the Hamilton Art Gallery on the existing site, which we endorsed at Council in November last year,” said Cr Robertson.

The total cost to purchase both buildings is approximately $1.8 million (plus costs of $100,000). These purchases will be funded through the 2022/2023 Budget allocation (Lonsdale Street Purchases) of $1,450,000, Moodie Avenue sale of $350,000 and reallocated capital of $100,000.

Trish Munro, owner of both 121 Brown Street and 92 Lonsdale Street said the timing was right for the sale of these premises.

“We are pleased that the former Free Presbyterian Church and the Toyworld building on Lonsdale Street will now become part of the plans and future vision of the Arts Precinct,” said Ms Munro.

“Our vision for Toyworld will continue to develop and grow as we continue to trade from the current location at this time, until our future plans for our family business are realised,” concluded Ms Munro.

The Church located at 121 Brown Street is subject to a heritage overlay and will not be demolished during the implementation of the project but preserved, with some creative ideas in the pipeline to activate the space.

Council will continue to progress the development of designs for this precinct, which will be released for community exhibition once drafted.

“Council is very excited to continue to progress works on this precinct. It presents a myriad of opportunities for residents and visitors alike and promises to truly transform the Hamilton CBD. We look forward to having designs to show residents so we can all share in this exciting vision for the future of the Southern Grampians,” concluded Cr Robertson.

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