Tooles landmark a site for sore eyes

THE transformation of the former Tooles building in Wodonga is complete and its first tenant will open this week.

Optometrist OPSM will open its first Wodonga shop as part of the $1 million revamp on the corner of High and Stanley streets.

Developer Andrew Stern said OPSM would occupy a 140 square metres on High Street and there were five more tenancies available for lease.

Demolition of the old Tooles building began in May.

“It is a striking development that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the premier retail streets of Sydney or Melbourne,” Mr Stern said.

“We wanted to give High Street a real face-lift.

“Retail is still not the easiest of markets and it is not something we took on lightly.”

Mr Stern and his wife, Jenny, have bank-rolled the project with much of the steelwork used on site manufactured at the family-owned JC Butko Engineering factory.

Wodonga-based Connelly Construction has also been involved in the project.

Tooles Disposals, which opened in 1939, closed its doors in mid-2011.

JMP Development, the company owned by Mr and Mrs Stern, secured Wodonga Council approval to redevelop the site later that year.

The largest tenancy available to let is 170 square metres and smallest is 100 square metres.

Mr Stern said the building’s completion should spark increased interest from other companies.

“We’ve got negotiations going with several on the other tenancies,” he said.

“Some are more advanced than others.

“But we’ve definitely got good interest.”

OPSM already has outlets in Albury and Lavington.

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