THE speed of the response to Myer's closure in Orange has been applauded by councillors as they approved a $6.8-million redevelopment of the prime commercial site.
Orange City Centre manager Alceon Group's proposal for 16 specialty shops, two mini-major stores including Harris Scarfe and two kiosks was approved unanimously on Tuesday night.
The decision came less than three months after the Myer announcement.
Councillor Reg Kidd welcomed the retention of the facade and said he had not expected such a smooth process.
“When you look at the plans and how that will work, in particular the heritage outlook, I think they've done a marvellous job,” he said.
“We get into debates about heritage development but I was at a meeting with a bloke on the heritage committee who was quite pleased with this.”
Cr Kidd said it was an exciting development despite the sadness to many people.
“I think we've all got something special we can remember about it – my mum was the longest-serving person to work there,” he said.
Employment and economic development policy committee chair and councillor Jeff Whitton said it would not have been unusual for a tenancy the size of Myer to remain vacant for a long time.
“It just goes to show how strong the city is, particularly the CBD,” he said.
“By April next year, they'll start renovations and by the end of the year, someone will be in there.”
The proposal will open access to Post Office Lane and a central main access to Summer Street.
Key original elements, including most of the cast iron columns and two pulley systems used to move goods between floors, will be retained or reused throughout the design.
The basement, light vents and their pressed tin features will be kept and while the four shopfronts proposed for Post Office Lane will cut into the original wall, the brickwork will still be visible.
Alceon Group did not respond to questions prior to publication.