IT'S finally happening - parts of the vacant former rail land near Naracoorte's town centre are up for sale.
Around eight years since the Naracoorte Lucindale Council approached the State Government about donating the land, the Department of Transport and Infrastructure has instructed the sale of three vacant lots on Smith St.
The lots - lot two (7794 sq m), lot three (13,921 sq m) and lot four (13,540 sq m) - represent a substantial portion of the former rail land.
Some of the remaining land will be gifted to the council, and the rest will be offered for sale later.
After the Government in 2005/06 donated rail land back to Mount Gambier, Naracoorte Lucindale Council approached the government to do the same with the land in Naracoorte.
"The decision was made that the land would not be donated but rather the minister would sell it," the council's director of planning, environment and community development Steve Bourne said. "It has been a very long and protracted process of getting to where we are today."
Mayor Erika Vickery was glad a move had finally been made.
"To get to this stage now is encouraging," she said. "And we hope there is a real interest out there from people who wish to purchase those blocks."
Ottoson Partners Real Estate have been instructed to sell the land.
Licensed agent Neil Ottoson said the land, which is zoned as town centre, could make an ideal site for new shopping developments aside from Kincraig Plaza, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012 - if the town could handle it.
"We'd like to see - not from an agent's point-of-view but an investors' or a business's point-of-view - another shopping centre," he said.
"I'm not talking about a huge Coles potentially but something a bit smaller because I don't think the town can handle another shopping centre per se."
But he admitted the big players in the industry can do "funny things" and the Kincraig Plaza/Woolworths complex being on a sloped site may make them consider the flatter site up for sale.
"This flat site is a lot better site potentially," Mr Ottoson said. "If the town can handle it."
He expected the lots would be sold some time this year and by the time a new development was ready to go the town may be ready for a new shopping centre.
Another possible use of the land could be accommodation, with the State's peak tourism body saying the town lacked places for visitors.
Mayor Vickery said the SA Tourism commission had identified a shortage of high-range accommodation in Naracoorte.
"The SA Tourism Commission has been saying that (there is a shortage) as part of their destination action plan," she said. "The high-end is really desperate."
Mr Ottoson said there would be plenty of interest in the land due to its income potential.
"Lot two has a rental situation happening there with the paving guy, the old goods shed which is vacant which could be redeveloped into I'm suggesting storage," he said.
"There is income available straight away."
Origin Energy is the current tenant of lot three, another source of income for a potential buyer.
Mr Ottoson said the sale of the lots, which could be sold as a whole or in three non-contingent lots, would influence the future of Naracoorte.
"Opportunities like this do not present themselves very often and there is huge development potential," he said.
"This is great long term investing and will be influence the future makeup and growth of Naracoorte."
The current leases on the lots are in holding over - the properties will be sold in vacant possession with a month's notice for lots two and three and three month's notice for lot four.
There is also an EPA report on the land.
Mr Bourne explained the land is on an old rail exchange and there was some contamination as a result of that.
"It's well known that there is contamination around railway land, there has been some remediation done, he said. "There is a full report available detailing that."
Mr Ottoson said it was up to the buyers to do their due diligence.
"Each potential purchaser has to assess for themself the potential for (contamination)," he said.
"We don't believe there is much contamination generally but there is some acid soils over the other side of the railway line, which is not for sale."
Expressions of interest through Ottoson Partners Real Estate close on March 22 at 5pm.
For more information contact Neil Ottoson on 0418 844 822, Angela Northcott on 0499 318 190 or Margot Shortt on 0400 940 148.
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