DPI's hospital site: New offices to be built | Video, photos

BRIGHT PLANS: What the new offices of the Department of Primary Industries will look like when construction is completed. Photo: DPI
BRIGHT PLANS: What the new offices of the Department of Primary Industries will look like when construction is completed. Photo: DPI

The NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) new home will be the old Orange Base Hospital site in Prince Street.

A three-storey office block with a 390-site car park will be built on the site, with work to start early next year.

It is expected the DPI would move its 700 staff from its current Kite Street site to the new building in November 2020.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair was in Orange on Tuesday morning to announce the new building.

“During construction around 220 full-time jobs will be created and we expect a more-than $30 million boost to the local economy,” he said.

Mr Blair said the DPI was delighted to be committing to staying in Orange.

“This has been a fantastic example of decentralisation,” he said.

VIDEO: An overview of what the completed site will look like …

The new building will also house staff from Local Land Services and the departments of Premier and Cabinet and Planning and Environment.

The DPI is a tenant in its current building in Kite Street, which is privately owned. It will again lease the new building, which is to be constructed by a private firm.

The Director-General of the NSW DPI Scott Hansen said the rental cost for the new building would be less than the rent they are currently paying.

No decision has been made about what will happen to the current building.

Mr Hansen said it would be up to the owners of the Kite Street building to seek new tenants or find a new use for it.

The DPI will take out a 12-year lease on the new building, with further options of eight years and then five years.

It will occupy the Anson Street end of the old hospital site with the entrance fronting Prince Street.

The three-level car park will be behind the building.

Orange City Council’s Employment and Economic Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton said it was still intended the other end of the block would be used for a housing and a retail precinct.

“The site of the former base hospital is an ideal location for this new head office,” he said.

“The government’s decision to construct a purpose-built new head office will be a boost for the Orange economy both during construction and in the long term.”

He said since the DPI head office opened in Orange in 1992 staff had embraced living in a regional city and enhanced the level of support offered to the farming sector.

DPI BOSS SAYS MOVE WILL ATTRACT BRIGHTEST AND BEST TO ORANGE

MOVING to purpose-built offices will be a significant magnet to attract workers to Orange, according to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) NSW director general Scott Hansen.

Mr Hansen said the DPI move from Kite Street to the former Orange Base Hospital site was “fantastic news” for staff.

“We’re extremely blessed at the moment to have some of the best talent across the country [at] the DPI and our counterpart agencies across Orange,” he said.

“The more infrastructure we can put around them, the better the accommodation we can provide, not only does it provide a better work environment for our current staff, it acts as a significant attractant to be able to keep bringing the smartest and brightest brains to work for the public service in NSW, and importantly for us, work for the DPI.”

VIDEO: What NSW minister Niall Blair said at Tuesday’s announcement …

Mr Hansen said the current DPI workforce of 700 in Orange would move into the new building in 2020.

He said the DPI would have an initial 12-year lease on the building, with options for an eight-year extension and then a five-year extension.

Mr Hansen said the DPI was committed to staying in Orange until at least 2040.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said there would be room for expansion in the new building.

“My plan is to get more and more jobs in buildings like this. We want to ensure we have room to grow in Orange,” he said.

ALL SMILES: Orange City councillor Jeff Whitton, DPI NSW director general Scott Hansen, and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announcing the DPI's new home at the former Orange Base Hospital site in Prince Street.

ALL SMILES: Orange City councillor Jeff Whitton, DPI NSW director general Scott Hansen, and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announcing the DPI's new home at the former Orange Base Hospital site in Prince Street.

Mr Blair said that since the DPI moved to Orange 26 years ago it had attracted private companies in the primary industries sector to invest in Orange, creating more employment.

“It attracts the rest of industry to come in and work off the back of those (DPI) jobs,” he said.

Mr Blair said the government was committed to regional NSW, with senior officers living and working in their local community.

“We know we want to stay in Orange,” he said.

“We know Orange is now the hub of agricultural activity in NSW and that has been built off the DPI being here in Orange for 26 years.

It’s another sign that Orange is steadily moving to become part of the ‘knowledge economy’, a community based on skills, information and technical depth.

Orange City Councillor Jeff Whitton

“The new headquarters will continue to bolster the primary industries sector and see the department invest in, and thrive with, Orange, now and well into the future.”

He said there had been an “extensive, two-stage process” to determine the best site.

“The hospital site has come out as the best option for taxpayers but also the best option to provide new life into the site and revitalise the area right in the heart of Orange,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless said it was a “huge win.

“I can’t wait to see construction get under way,” Mr Colless said.

COUNCIL KEEN TO FIND NEW USE FOR SOON-TO-BE OLD DPI SITE

ORANGE City Council will offer to work with the owner of the current Department of Primary Industries (DPI) site in Kite Street to find a new tenant.

The DPI will leave the site at the end of 2020 when its lease expires.

Council’s Employment and Economic Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton said he hoped a tenant could be found.

“We’ll be working closely with the owner to see what we can do as a council to help them get occupants for that building,” he said.

POLL: Have your say …

“Because it is a great asset to the city it will generate more jobs if we can get another facility inside that building.

“Certainly that’s what we’ll be talking to the NSW government about.”

Cr Whitton said the DPI move to the centre of Orange would benefit the city.

He said plans for the western end of the site were continuing.

“There is going to be urban-style metropolitan housing and hopefully that will get through council in the coming years,” he said.

“That’s the plan to have local shops, local community living and with this great [DPI] asset being built, it will go hand-in-glove.

MAP: Where the two sites are located …

“The site of the former base hospital is an ideal location for this new head office.

“The proposal is to sell most of the western end of the site to a developer who will construct the new building.

“It’s virtually a clean-slate, which gives architects room to be creative, but it’s also in an established area of Orange.”

Cr Whitton said the DPI’s commitment had wider benefits for Orange.

“It’s another sign that Orange is steadily moving to become part of the ‘knowledge economy’, a community based on skills, information and technical depth,” he said.

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