Heritage fight as Commercial Club looks to redevelop old bank building | POLL

A HERITAGE-listed former bank building would be demolished under a $6 million expansion plan proposed by the Commercial Club in Albury.

The two-storey former NSW Rural Bank and manager’s residence was built in 1938 in art deco style before shutting four decades later.

The Commercial Club wants to demolish the building, which it owns, to allow for the latest round of extensions, including an enlarged outdoor gaming area, another TAB, bar and bistro lounge capable of seating 300 people.

A newlook facade to Dean Street is also proposed.

The development application submitted to Albury Council addresses the potentially contentious issue of flattening the 642 Dean Street property.

The licensed club also proposes to redevelop 644 Dean Street when leases for a restaurant, hairdresser and offices expire in 2022.

“The western part of Dean Street is characterised by newer developments, the most notable being Rydges Hotel opposite the Commercial Club,” the application states.

“If not already part of that newer development, the Commercial Club would certainly be viewed that way following the construction of the currently proposed development.

“The proposal shows due regard for the streetscape and Dean Street will present better to residents and visitors with a unified facade to its major hospitality venue.”

The Albury Heritage Trust is already opposing the redevelopment.

“We want to see the building retained,” trust president David Lonergan said.

“It is one of only about six commercial art deco properties left in Albury.

“The building should be saved, but in a worse case scenario the facade should be retained and incorporated into the new building.”

Club chief executive Bruce Duck said council planning staff would assess the proposal.

Possible retention of the 642 Dean Street facade is included in the development application, but has been ruled out.

“Vision for the future of the Commercial Club and the future of Dean Street warrants resolution at this time,” the application states.

The 642 Dean Street building’s ground level is vacant, with one of two first floor flats occupied.

Subject to approval, work could start in July and be completed by October next year.

The club will still have a surplus of 73 car parks if the development proceeds.

It is also anticipating a total smoking ban, resulting in the present outdoor gaming areas becoming enclosed.