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Money Forgotten, rotten eyesore up for sale

04:05  18 may  2018
04:05  18 may  2018 Source:   msn.com

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I don't really know how else to explain it - it's an eyesore. Rotten and forgotten. Time has had its way with Drummoyne's water reservoir and tower.

Like many things, it had a purpose in its younger days, and a very important one - servicing the good people of Balmain.

Built in 1913, before World War II, it carried on supplying water to Sydney's inner-west until 1964.

a large brick building with grass and trees: The Drummoyne water tower was built in 1913. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The Drummoyne water tower was built in 1913.

But it hasn't been used since and was ultimately disconnected in 1994. Its iconic arches have become chipped and stained, the tower is rooved with old broken wood, even the birds don't fly in anymore.

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History buffs and curiosity seekers revel in finding a piece of the past. Stumbling across something long forgotten is an excellent way to travel back in time, even if it’s only for a few moments. …

Sydney Water knows all this. It owns the site and now wants to offload it.

"If you don't re-use heritage buildings they die,” agent Peter Vines told me. “The space can be far better used."

the tower of the building: The tower supplied water to Sydney's inner west until 1964. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The tower supplied water to Sydney's inner west until 1964.

So, it's been put up for sale, in a package that includes 1800 square metres of prime land, in a suburb that's less than 25 minutes from the city. There’s a school across the road and a few cafes down the street. Seems like a decent opportunity for a cashed up developer to turn a negative into a positive.

Sydney Water was coy on what it could be turned into, leaving that to council and the potential buyer.

But this is no straightforward investment. The site is heritage listed so any work or construction has to be approved by various councils. The sale price, expected to go for millions, must factor in steep costs for the restoration of its facade.

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a display in a garden: It's now up for sale - but the buyer will face strict conditions. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd It's now up for sale - but the buyer will face strict conditions.

It sits directly under a flight path so the noise is a constant, as we experienced during our interviews which had to stop every couple of minutes as planes passed overhead.

There has also been serious backlash from residents in the area who worry that a historic community icon will be lost to developers who may go onto build residential apartments or commercial offices.

They believe the site should be gifted back to the community. Council has been offered the chance to buy it, but has so far turned it down.

a view of a city: Residents are worried the area will lose a historic community icon. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Residents are worried the area will lose a historic community icon.

Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said he doesn’t think the ratepayers should have to pay for something that he believes already belongs to the community.

"I think it would be wonderful for our community to have this asset handed back for our use rather than being sold off to a private developer," he said.

It may be a fight that council has lost, though. Expressions of interest close at the end of June.  


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