A prominent Bathurst building that was originally built as a Masonic lodge and served as a social hub for the town for much of the 20th century has hit the market with price expectations in the mid-$1 million range.
The property at 99 Keppel Street was completed in 1890. Lord Carrington, who was then the NSW governor and grand master of the United Grand Lodge, the main governing body for freemasonry in the state, laid the keystone of the building’s arch in 1889.
The Masons lost control of the building between 1894 and 1922, according to historical notes held by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, after the company formed to provide finance for the building’s construction collapsed.
For much of the 20th century the property was used as a venue for debutante balls and concerts. It was also the venue for the world premiere of The Lawsons, a popular ABC radio serial that ran from 1944 to 1949.
The building has been used as a function centre since 1983, when the Masons relocated to a new centre. It was known as “The Carrington” from about 2005 and most recently operated under the name “KeyStone est. 1889”.
Domain Group records show the property last changed hands in late 2018 for $1.1 million.
The two-storey building has a net lettable area of 1037 square metres and comprises a Victorian-era theatre, fully licensed bar and courtyard, and upstairs accommodation.
Listing agent Nick Lower said in its current configuration, the venue was suitable for wedding receptions, concerts and theatre shows, with the mezzanine and private meeting areas also lending themselves for corporate use.
Its B3 Commercial Core zoning also allowed for other uses.
“Having the flexibility for multiple uses, the property offers buyers a ‘blank canvas’ for future repositioning, while having the potential to boast a strong income stream should a passive investment opportunity be desired,” he said.
Selin Ince, sales executive at Savills, said 99 Keppel Street was not subject to heritage restrictions.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for investors or developers to secure a landmark mixed-use retail asset in the heart of a major regional centre,” Ms Ince said.
“Alternative uses could include childcare, community centre, hotel/motel accommodation or a medical centre.”
Savills is working in conjunction with Raine and Horne Bathurst on the sale of the property, which is being offered with vacant possession.
Matt Clifton, director at Raine & Horne Bathurst, said the property would benefit from the continuing evolution of Bathurst’s city centre.
“The area has been subject to continual change and evolution,” he said.
“Charles Sturt University and St Stanislaus’ College both sit within a 1.5-kilometre radius – with the subject property also being within close proximity to Aldi, Anytime Fitness and a host of other national retailers.”
Expressions of interest close on Friday, July 3.
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