AU Melbourne City Council to conduct an audit of disused buildings
Property Here - Thursday, April 11, 2013
DERELICT buildings could be hit with higher council rates in a bid to rid the CBD of "bomb sites".
Melbourne City Council will conduct an audit of disused buildings such as the Argus newspaper site in Elizabeth St and the Savoy Tavern in Spencer St.
Planning committee chairman Cr Ken Ong said the Argus site had been derelict for more than a decade after a plan by La Trobe University to use it as a campus fell through and it was sold to developer Shesh Ghale.
"I used to work in Melbourne Central back in the 1990s and that building had tenants and it looked all right,'' he said.
"Now it's just broken windows and graffiti and if you go into the building you can see the sky because someone has punched a big hole in the roof.''
Cr Ong said new State Government guidelines allowed councils to levy higher rates on derelict or vacant properties.
"I will ask council officers to investigate and do an inventory of all derelict buildings in the city,'' Cr Ong said. ``It might be time for us to put a differential rate levy on those sites to encourage the owners to either restore them or develop them.''
Last year, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle nominated the Argus and Savoy buildings as well as 567 Collins St as "bomb sites''.
Leighton Properties has since announced that a 26-storey office tower will be built on the Collins St site.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the council's planned audit of derelict sites was overdue.
"The Argus building is actually beautiful,'' he said.
"If there could be a way to integrate a development next door, or an upgrade of that building, it would be fabulous.''
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/realestate/news/blitz-on-bomb-sites/story-fndba8uq-1226618045350#ixzz2Q8jdSBMW