OUR SAY | What will become of the DPI’s current building when it moves?

MOVING ON OUT: The department of Primary Industries will leave its Kite Street address in 2020.
MOVING ON OUT: The department of Primary Industries will leave its Kite Street address in 2020.

While Tuesday’s announcement answered one important question about what will go on the old Orange Base Hospital site, it leaves one very important question unanswered.

What will happen to the current Department of Primary Industries site in Kite Street?

The large building currently houses about 700 people and by all accounts it’s a pretty tight fit with little room for expansion.

The DPI’s staff will no doubt be thrilled with plans to move into a state-of-the art building when the lease on the current building expires in 2020.

Right in the middle of the CBD, the new building will have room for expansion and give staff easy access to the city’s amenities, retail outlets, restaurants and cafes.

While Orange City Council has pledged to work with the owner of the current DPI building to find a new tenant, it will be no easy task.

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Council’s Employment and Economic Committee chair councillor Jeff Whitton said he hoped a tenant could be found and as it’s vital not just for the building’s owner but also for Orange’s future prosperity.

As Cr Whitton told the Central Western Daily it’s a great asset to the city which will generate more jobs if we can get another tenant inside that building.

There’s no doubt the relocation of the DPI will help kickstart the development of the rest of the old Orange Base Hospital site, with plans to construct a modern housing development also in the pipeline.

There’s also plans to incorporate shops and hospitality outlets, making it an attractive place to both work and live.

While it’s great to see there’s a real buzz about the re-development of the Orange Base Hospital site let’s hope there’s not a down side as we witnessed when a new Bunnings Warehouse opened in north Orange.

We may only truly celebrate the new DPI building once the future of the old one is known.

The fact that its previous home at the Orange Grove Homemaker Centre still sits dormant is telling.

As predicted in 2015 by real estate agent Ash Brown, who was then a councillor, the empty Bunnings building will be difficult to fill.

If there’s anything to be learnt it’s just how important and difficult it is to fill these expansive buildings with the right tenants.

We may only truly celebrate the new DPI building once the future of the old one is known.

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