Plans revealed for city's 'crown jewel'

A SYDNEY developer has unveiled his vision for a prime pocket of land in the middle of Griffith's CBD.

Griffith City Council agreed to sell a large portion of its vacant Railway Street block to Ascenzo Industries (AI) for $2.5 million last week.

The controversial sale prompted protests from a handful of councillors who had visions of a civic centre being constructed on the site.

Instead, AI has planned to establish a mixed-use development incorporating accommodation, restaurants, retailers and corporate offices.

AI general manager Peter Breckenridge told The Area News he was poised to approach Quest Apartments to be part of the development.

He said he would work with council and the community to determine the way forward for the Railway Street land, a block Griffith mayor Mike Neville has referred to as the city's "crown jewel".

"Once I saw the opportunity there for this block and spent some time in Griffith, I could see that this fits in with a lot of the developments we do," Mr Breckenridge said.

"We will look at what is right for the community and what the community will benefit from before we make any moves on the site.

"We'll be careful to look at the relationship between this piece of land, Memorial Park and the main street to make sure everything we do fits in with the feel of the area."

Mr Breckenridge expected construction to begin in about 12 months, following the consultation, planning and design stages.

He said tenancies at the site would be open to existing local businesses as well as external operators.

Cr Neville, who has yet to meet with AI, said council would welcome a conversation with the developers but would only be able to provide practical advice on planning matters.

"We will obviously have a role in assessing future development applications for the site in future so our involvement will be very limited," Cr Neville said.

"We'll certainly try to help out if they need assistance but, at the end of the day, what they do with the block is their call.

"All I can say is a Quest-style of development would probably fit well but any development will provide a good business focus and an injection of people for the CBD."

When contacted by The Area News, Quest Apartments general manager Andrew Weisz said negotiations had not begun with AI but Griffith had been identified as a location of interest.

Council has signed the contracts for the sale of the land, giving AI 90 days to complete its due diligence and confirm the purchase.

The 10,000 square-metre block is sandwiched between two council-owned lots that have been put aside for public parking.