RESIDENCES facing on to QEII Square form part of a radical redevelopment proposed for the western side of the park in Albury's heart.
Upper storey housing, commercial space, underground parking and areas for church use would replace the Anglican rectory and the bulk of the Belbridge Hague law office under the plan.
There would also be a six-metre wide pathway between St Matthew's Church and the new development formed to allow for a vista from QEII Square to Kiewa Street.
The transformation is the brainchild of Belbridge Hague and the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta which administers the church land.
A desire by the church to create an income stream is fuelling the plan which was presented to Albury councillors in a closed meeting in December.
In an email to council, St Matthew's Church warden and its finance committee chairman Mark Carden warned of potential hardship.
"Any development that does NOT (sic) include St Matthew's will mean that the Rectory building continues to be a financial burden for the Parish and in the long term possibly a derelict eyesore in the heart of the CBD," Mr Carden stated.
The rectory dates to 1869 but it has changed markedly since with a second storey added in 1914 after a fire.
Belbridge Hague has occupied its building since 1920.
It first opened in 1874 as a masonic lodge.
Belbridge Hague solicitor director Rob Meers has engaged an architectural firm, whose projects include Melbourne's Eureka Tower and Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art, to look at the proejct and has seen nine potential designs.
"It's not going to be cheap and nasty, this is not going to be another First Choice liquor store," Mr Meers said referring to the chain's Albury outlet at the eastern end of Dean Street.
"It will be a building of beauty, this will be something that is striking."
Architect Rob Mirams, Fender Katsalidis director, said his analysis of the site involved various heights, dimensions and setbacks.
He said they had been based on retaining the Kiewa Street facade of the Belbridge Hague offices and demolishing the rectory.
"We have to do something that will see us into the future, if we don't hitch ourselves on this wagon we're going to go off a cliff," he said.
"That building is going to fall down, it's already falling down with the front ceiling falling in."
Mr Meers said his firm and the Diocese of Wangaratta did not want to submit a development application to Albury Council without undertaking a consultation process with the city.
The council at its meeting last week passed a motion to prioritise a review of its master plan of the cultural precinct and seek immediate discussions with the church and law firm about their plans.
Councillor David Thurley said the project had to be "looked at as a commercial thing".
"The church clearly needs some money, the rectory appears to be a millstone around their neck and the whole of Diocese of Wangaratta is looking not that flash in relation to money," Cr Thurley said.
He warned though that neglect should not be allowed to be used as a reason to knock buildings down.