PART of Orange City Centre’s heritage facades are at risk of failure during major winds or snowfalls, according to a fresh development application (DA) for the site.
Alceon Group has asked Orange City Council for permission to remove virtually the entire building.
A steel frame would then be constructed to support the preserved Summer Street and Post Office Lane facades, which would not be visible.
The new building would still accommodate the 13 ground-level shops originally included, in addition to Harris Scarfe, a mini-major on the Anson Street side and two kiosk tenancies.
However, the first and second floors would not be reinstated, removing the three tenancies approved in the first DA.
With the northern part of the roof not providing support for the walls and at risk of collapse in a snow or earthquake event, it would also be replaced.
Two stores would have access to Post Office Lane, but the entry planned from the laneway would be deleted due to the eastern facade’s condition.
According to the DA’s structural report, the integrity of the building was “significantly worse” than anticipated, with degraded lime mortar holding the building together, moving in different directions.
It said the Summer Street facade was misaligned between five millimetres and seven centimetres and the parapet was leaning towards the street by 3.5 centimetres and needed to be fixed to avoid collapse during extreme wind or snow.
“The successful repair of the existing masonry, particularly at high levels, is considered complex, unlikely and highly dangerous,” the report said.
“Due to the findings made in these investigations and the absence of any other safe and certifiable structural design options, the submission of this revised DA reflects a development proposal which can be delivered despite the significant additional cost and time to the applicant.”
The report said there would be greater loss of heritage fabric, however original intentions to preserve and reuse the two pulleys in the building’s storage areas, pressed tin panels and 10 of the internal columns would still occur.
With the floor level to be lowered to comply with disabled access and weight provisions, the basement heritage stair would be salvaged and used as a decorative feature elsewhere on the site.
Council staff are yet to assess the plans.
Subject to approval, the building is set for completion by December next year.