Historic Osborne House renewal one step closer

Work to sustainably redevelop Osborne House and Stables is progressing, with council giving the green light for an expressions of interest (EOI) process to begin next month.

Osborne House, which was built in North Geelong 1858, is an important community and heritage asset that’s of regional significance to Greater Geelong.

The EOI process will seek potential investors to partner with council and will be guided by sustainable development parameters and principles adopted last year, including:

  • Osborne House to remain in public hands;
  • A mix of community, public and commercial uses should be considered;
  • The values of Osborne Park should be protected and celebrated, including First Nations heritage; and
  • Future development must comply with principles of the Lovell Chen Conservation Management Plan 2009.

The competitive process will occur in two stages, while three assessment panels on the topics of ‘Finance and Capability’, ‘Activation and Use’ and ‘Planning, Design and Heritage’ will be involved in the decision-making.

The estimated cost of redeveloping Osborne House is in excess of $21 million, depending on the type of future uses and development proposed. All options have the potential to attract various levels of government and private partnership investment.

Council’s committed up to $10 million over three to four years for the restoration. This allocation includes $2 million in funding for restoration and maintenance works, which are already underway.

To date this work has included restoring or replacing 50 windows and French doors and installing fire detection systems, with stable wall remediation works to begin next month.

The development of the EOI documentation and process has been carried out in consultation with the Osborne House Project Control Group, which includes representatives from the City, Heritage Victoria, National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and the Osborne Park Association.

Council also noted an options paper on the future of the Geelong Naval and Maritime collection at Osborne House. The housing of the collections at Osborne House will also be considered as part of the proposed redevelopment and EOI process.

An option for sale of the land and buildings is not being considered as part the EOI.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said the Osborne Park Precinct is an important part of our region’s history.

The historic Osborne Park Precinct is much loved by the Greater Geelong community, so it’s exciting that progress is being made on its redevelopment.

I spoke to the president of the HMAS Australia Veterans just last weekend, about his passion for a naval museum in our region, ideally at Osborne House. That’s just one of many examples of committed community members with great ideas.

I encourage potential partners and investors to come forward with their vision for the house and stables, which fit within the development parameters and principles adopted by Council last year.

Councillor Eddy Kontelj, Chair, Osborne House portfolio said consultation on the Osborne House restoration and the future of precinct is ongoing, however, the Council is determined to achieve real tangible outcomes in this term of Council.

The City has been engaging with a number of stakeholders about the EOI process and broader vision for Osborne Park Precinct, including the Osborne House Project Control Group, Wadawarrung Traditional Owners and community groups.

The precinct means a lot to the region, which is why we’re taking the right steps to ensure the community will have access into the future and its heritage values are protected.

The EOI has the potential of providing some very exciting opportunities for Osbourne House, the precinct, the community and investors into the future.

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