The Return of The Exchange Hotel

The Return of The Exchange Hotel
August 23, 2019 Katherine Stevens

The former Exchange Hotel is on its way to once again become a befitting amenity of Pinjarra’s main street, with a proposal to re-establish the hotel open for public comment, following a decision by Council at its August meeting.

While retaining the building’s heritage components the proposal, submitted by the Strzelecki Group, includes the re-establishment of a hotel as well as speciality shops, George Street frontage alfresco area and playground, building expansions to accommodate a front lounge, dining and back of house activities, a rear beer garden overlooking the foreshore precinct and provisions for pop-up markets.

In addition, the proposal further includes the sale of the building portion of the site, excluding the Murray River Square and foreshore land.

According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the design concept is consistent with the Shire’s endorsed Conservation Management Strategy, meets the requirements of the Exchange Hotel Local Planning Policy and adheres to the selection criteria set out in the initial expressions of interest process.

“We knew that in order to stimulate private investment in the town, support the local economy and activate the surrounding heritage precinct and adjacent foreshore, a quality development outcome for the key site was paramount.

“While it has taken a significant period of time to arrive at this point, due diligence was necessary to ensure the right proponent, with a sustainable and befitting proposal was approved to develop the site, in line with Council’s vision and community expectations,” Cr. Bolt said.

The proposal includes extension of the site further into the foreshore than was proposed under the Shire’s Murray River Square and Foreshore Redevelopment concept plans.

It has been determined however, that this will improve activity and surveillance over the foreshore and can be easily incorporated into the design.

Given the extent of the redevelopment works, Council has prepared a business plan for community consideration, prior to entering into a contract of sale.

To achieve the Shire’s objective of delivering a suitable development outcome within the short-term, a development agreement will be prepared and negotiated with the proponent during this consultation period.

Discussions will also be facilitated with the adjoining landowner to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome is achieved for the design and location of vehicular access.

Once these matters have been addressed and at the close of submissions, a report will be presented back to Council for consideration.

Pending Council’s endorsement as well as necessary industry approvals, construction on the hotel could commence in 2021, with completion anticipated for April 2022.

An economic impact assessment of the proposal estimates the construction phase to generate $2.3 million in additional economic output, $1.1 million in gross value add to the Shire, $600,000 in income and salaries and six full time equivalent jobs.

During operation, the annual economic benefit is expected to amount to $2.9 million in output, $1.5 million in gross value add, $900,000 in income and salaries and 18 full time equivalent jobs – assuming only 50% of turnover is new expenditure in the town.

Cr. Bolt encouraged community members to have their say, as feedback will play a vital role in ensuring the development reflects community aspirations for the key site.

The Exchange Hotel has a close association with the development and growth of Pinjarra, having operated continuously as a hotel since 1871, until it closed in 2008.

Conservation works undertaken by the Shire at the site earlier this year, made it clear for prospective development proponents, the sections of the building that needed to be incorporated into future development.

The works further de-risked the site through the completion of structural repairs and re-roofing including the installation of new roof plumbing.

The consultation period will run until close of business Wednesday 9 October, 2019.

To view the proposal and supporting documentation visit yoursay.murray.wa.gov.au.

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