Although many are under the impression that Manly Council has agreed to keep the Whistler Street car park and upgrade the Library - that was last month. Once again, things have changed.
Following on from a resolution moved by Clr Steve Pickering and Clr James Griffin an Expression of Interest (EOI) progress has commenced for the "opportunity to enter into a long term lease (the maximum term offered is 99 years) with Council to redevelop the strategic site .... generally bounded by Whistler Street, Market Lane and Library Place, Manly". Submissions close 12th June. 2015.
(Update: 12/6/15 .... At the EOI closing this afternoon, Council received 3 submissions to the EOI for Whistler Street Village Centre Redevelopment and 12 submissions to the EOI for Design and Construct Car Park Beneath Manly Oval.)
Respondents are invited to submit their interests and offers for at least two development scenarios. They are:
1. Redevelopment of the subject site in totality, which will include the building of a new library and offices for Council and in placed in Council's ownership under a separate stratum and with a total useable floor area of approximately 3,000 sq m.
2. Redevelopment of the subject site with the retention of and adding floor space to the existing library.
Although the EOI outlines that submissions should comply with Council's planning controls many believe that to provide the return on investment needed for such a redevelopment that developers would have to 'push the envelope' and a much higher building would need to be approved (or won in the Land & Environment Court).
The fundamental question still remains - why is Council continuing to push a project, which is linked to the creation of the Oval car park, when residents have clearly stated they don't want it and want to retain the more convenient location for parking. In addition, independent due diligence reports have clearly confirmed that the site would only be viable for developers if Council made the site suitable for the "biggest and best" use scenario
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.