THE fate of one of Wodonga's best known buildings will be debated in a secret session of Wodonga Council on Monday night.
Future options for Cafe Grove, which has been shut since late last year, will be discussed in the confidential business section of the meeting in a move which has sparked speculation the prominent site in central Wodonga could be sold.
But the path to a sale is complex with the site being partly owned by council and the Crown with the latter's parcels managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The council justified the decision to discuss the site's future behind closed doors because the report to be presented to councillors contains commercial in confidence information.
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The Cafe Grove site, constructed by Albury builders Chicks in the 1950s, served as the council offices before the move across Hovell Street to its present headquarters in 1976.
Following the council's relocation the site was initially used as government offices before being converted to a cafe with an adjoining function room.
The building's use as a museum operated by the Wodonga Historical Society was also pitched to Jeff Kennett when he was Victorian Premier in the 1990s.
Wodonga Citizen-of-the-Year past recipient Jean Whitla recounted how she personally handed Mr Kennett a letter on a visit to the city about the museum plan by spelling out the cafe building was surplus to council's needs following its move across the road.
Mrs Whitla had fond memories of the building when she covered council meetings alongside The Border Mail's Barrie Cassidy, among others, but hit a stumbling block in the form of council chief executive at the time, Peter Marshall.
"(Mr) Kennett had said council couldn't own two buildings and therefore they would have to get rid of what everyone knows now as Cafe Grove," she said.
"But Peter Marshall put a stop to it at the time."
"He said 'you don't really think you are going to get the most valuable piece of real estate in Wodonga do you?'".
DELWP was approached for comment.
Meanwhile, Wodonga Council will hand down its 2020-21 draft budget on Monday night.
The budget is expected to contain further COVID-19-related responses.