Hume snaps up vacant Baker site

LEFT: Hume sales and marketing general manager Melissa Sweetland, with Baker brothers Martin, David, Stuart and Simon. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

LEFT: Hume sales and marketing general manager Melissa Sweetland, with Baker brothers Martin, David, Stuart and Simon. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

HUME Building Society has bought a slice of Baker Motors’ old headquarters in Albury.

The society, due to trade as the Hume Bank from July 1, will likely knock down the art deco building next door to its head office in Olive Street.

Chief executive Andrew Saxby said yesterday the extra space was needed to accommodate growth in the next 40 years.

Hume announced it bought the two-storey building from the car dealers for an undisclosed amount as an alternative to moving its head office out of central Albury.

Baker Motors, which moved the showrooms to Young Street in 2012, will retain another vacant space showroom and the two shop spaces it leases out.

Mr Saxby said the plans for the purchased site would be decided in the next 18 months, with work to start in the next two years.

“The most likely outcome is that we’ll demolish it and build a new building there,” he said.

Mr Saxby said the new “much larger” building would be sublet, allowing Hume to expand when required over the next 40 years.

He said the building only used about 10 per cent of the purchased site.

“Our long-term view would be to build something that better uses the space,” he said.

Mr Saxby said the society planned to protect heritage features, such as the “Juliet” balcony on its facade.

“We won’t just run a bulldozer over it,” he said.

Sales and marketing general manager Melissa Sweetland said the Hume had doubled its number of branches in 10 years.

“Hume is quickly outgrowing its premises,” she said. “We always thought it would be better if we could expand rather than relocate.”

Neither party would reveal the price paid.

“It was a fair market price,” Mr Saxby said.

“It was a bit less than they wanted to sell it for and a bit more than what we wanted to buy it for.”

Martin Baker, who owns Baker Motors with his four brothers, said the building held great sentimental value.

His grandfather built the 200 square showroom in 1946 and his father John and two sisters were raised in a large flat above.

“It’s a bit emotional to see it go out of the family after 68 years — the best part is it stays in Albury ownership,” he said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop