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Council flags CBD site for multi-storey parking, possible retail, offices, supermarket, motel

September 23, 2022

Ophir car park. Google Street View.

By Peter Holmes

Orange mayor Jason Hamling said there was the potential for the 11,000-square-metre Ophir car park site "to be developed as a thriving new retail and office complex, mixed use centre with entertainment facility, or motel or serviced apartment accommodation in the heart of the city".

The Ophir car park on the corner of Lords Place and Kite Street has emerged as the most popular choice for a multi-storey CBD parking facility, ranking ahead of alternatives such as the Woolies car park and the Civic Centre car park.

Orange City Council undertook an online survey of residents. It found that 42.6 percent preferred the Ophir car park site for development.

Ophir car park site. Google Earth.

It was followed by the Woolies car park (38 percent) and the Civic Centre car park (8.4 percent).

The Sale Street car park near the Ex Services was just behind on 8.1 percent.

The Little Summer Street Car Park and the Endsleigh Avenue Car Park were also tested with both scoring below 2 percent support.

There were 345 people surveyed through the YourSay "online engagement platform". It was not a scientifically weighted survey.

Orange mayor Jason Hamling said a report would come to council in the coming months seeking support to call for expressions of interest for the development of the Ophir car park.

“We are not set on any one idea but are keen to hear from the commercial sector about how this site could be developed," Hamling said.

"We think there are opportunities to provide additional parking alongside new employment generating ventures. We know that new commercial space could also create new parking demands and we will need to make sure we get that balance right."

The site is zoned B3 – Commercial Core, which provides for retail, business, office, entertainment, community and, council said, "other suitable land uses that service the needs of the local community as well as promoting development that contributes to the role of the Orange CBD as the primary retail and business centre in the region".

A council statement said other potential development concepts could include:
* A secondary site for major supermarket with some mixed specialty retail;
* A core of mini/major brands with mixed specialty retail;
* Mixed specialty retail with tourist accommodation or “shop top” accommodation.

The site is approved for 16 metres high or 4 storeys.

Lords Place makeover on hold.

"While a recent assessment of parking in the Lord Place south precinct found that proposed parking changes as part of an upgrade could be managed, councillor Hamling said the time was right to test the market for future parking and development opportunities," said a council statement.

The Lords Place South Draft Concept Plan is currently on exhibition and can be found here.

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