Central Coast Council hopes to enter into a contract to sell its Gosford chambers to the State Government by the end of March, despite the Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities running out this month.
A few hurdles remain before the sale can be completed.
The State Government department has not finished its business case and it may not be completed for another 9 to 12 months.
Council hasn’t completed the reclassification of 73 and 75 Mann Street from community land to operational land, a process subject to final approval by the Minister for Planning and also with a deadline late in 2023.
The State Government commitment is unfunded at this point.
And, finally, a State election is being held on March 25 although a Council update on the proposed sale doesn’t mention that.
The update presumes a contract will be signed in January with a couple of months added in case of delay over the festive season and then another 12 months to complete the sale.
A year ago, the State Government and Council jointly announced the plan to develop a new TAFE college on a number of blocks of land fronting Mann St, from 49 to 51, 53, 55-57, 73 and 75 Mann St.
In a report to the December 13 Council-under-administration meeting, staff have explained that in the year since Council and the NSW Minister for Skills and Training, and Landcom, entered into the MOU on December 14 last year, an in-depth independent expert valuation has been obtained.
“The valuation provides a benchmark for the sale price and is commercially sensitive at this stage,” the report states.
In other words, we can’t be told how much the land is worth.
But the report to the Administrator is optimistic, expecting that a contract will be entered into before the end of January 2023 as regular meetings have been held this year between the parties.
“However, in the interest of ensuring the highest probability of agreement on both price and terms of sale, and also allowing for some delays in final negotiations over the Festive Season, it is considered prudent to allow up to 3 months (that is, up to 31 March 2023) to finalise and execute the sale contract,” Council states.
The sale would be expected to be completed within another 12 months after the contract has been signed.
Member for Wyong David Harris said Labor has supported the project in principle but has not been included in any briefings or discussion.
“An incoming NSW Labor Government would honour a funded agreement but we reserve the right to review any decision to ensure there is the best outcome for TAFE (training and skills) and best outcome for NSW taxpayers and Central Coast residents,” he said this week.
The report to the administrator says that in the event that the sale does not proceed, an alternative purchaser will be sought such as a government agency, a public institution or a developer committed to creating a landmark development that contributes to the revitalisation of the Gosford CBD and the activation of the Gosford waterfront.
An update on that issue is also being tabled at the December 13 meeting.