Potential buyer found for iconic Belconnen Fresh Food Market site
29 September 2017 Daniella White
The iconic Belconnen Fresh Food Markets are off the market, with hopes the mixed retail and residential development will boost the local economy.
The markets have been owned and operated by the Efkarpidis family for about 25 years and the potential buyer and developer was found after an eight week expression of interest campaign.
The prospective buyer and sale price of the precinct can't be revealed until late October when the due diligence period ends.
The potential sale comes as a much needed boost to the Belconnen region after Myer last week announced it would close its Belconnen store in 2019.
The 30,000 square metre site includes the 18,890 square metre market site, a vacant 4818 square metre block with DA approval for 170 units and a gravel carpark site of 6077 square metres.
Laing+Simmons managing director Alex Smith said the successful bidder wants to use the site for residential and retail development but is also considering other uses.
He said the potential buyers were looking to keep the fresh food markets and improve them.
"I think it will be fantastic news, it will be a huge stimulus there's a huge amount of potential in this precinct," Mr Smith said.
"We had been hoping to find someone who would be able to take advantage of the whole precinct to develop, rather than splitting it into smaller sites."
Mr Smith said there was strong interest during the sale period from a mixture of Sydney and Canberra-based developers.
He said the size of the site and its mixed-use potential made it a unique development in Canberra.
"We've seen a lot of residential development in the last few years, but not so much mixed use," he said.
Belconnen Community Council deputy chair Damien Haas the community was attached to the fresh food markets themselves.
"People regard it fondly and we'd be hopeful it remains a fresh food market," he said.
"I think over last couple years the owners made some good decisions and then some not so good ones, so hopefully it's a chance for some upgrading.
"And there were some problems getting capital and getting finance to finish residential development, resulting in an enormous hole in the ground for years."
The news comes as a needed boost to Belconnen after Myer announced it would close its Westfield Belconnen store in 2019.
The Belconnen Community Council invited Scentre Group - which owns Westfield in Australia - to its meeting on Tuesday, hoping to discuss the shopping centre giant's plans for when Myer closes.
Instead, the company sent a statement to the meeting - identical to the one it provided Canberra Times last week.
"[Myer's] departure will enable us to introduce new retailers - both local and international - into our centre in 2020 – allowing our offer to remain fresh and relevant," the statement read.
Date: 22 Sept, 2017