THE RSL may abandon plans to establish a veterans' wellbeing centre in Wodonga's TAFEspace building if it cannot buy the site in the future.
The Victorian branch wants to have the chance to own the property in Wodonga's civic precinct that includes the The Cube, senior citizens' centre and library under construction.
However, Wodonga councillors are being advised to decline that purchase offer "due to the strategic location of this land and council's invested interest in preserving this asset for civic and community use in the future".
They are the words of a recommendation on the agenda for Monday night's council meeting.
Victorian RSL president Robert Webster said council's decision would shape the next step for the $5 million hub funded by the federal government.
"It's fair to say we're wanting to see what the council do before we decide which way we're going to jump," he said.
Dr Webster said the RSL had done due diligence on a second site in Wodonga and looked briefly at another two locations in the city.
"A greenfields site might be a goer, so we're really keeping our mind open, but we've got deadlines," he said, noting a government rider to have funds committed to a site by June 30 next year.
Dr Webster said the size of the double storey TAFEspace, which opened in November 2010, was a concern for the RSL.
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"The building is too big for what we need and we have to work out how we could fill it to afford it," he said.
"Put it this way, it's not the drop dead site."
Dr Webster said if the RSL owned the site it would give the organisation some leverage in the long term so it could borrow money against the property.
In a letter to Wodonga mayor Kevin Poulton, RSL Victoria's chief of veteran services Adam Lawson stated a purchase option would offer his organisation financial security and assurance "in the unlikely event that the property need to be sold in the future".
Under the terms of that agreement, ownership of the Lawrence Street property would revert to the council when the lease expires in April 2060 and the city would not be required to compensate the RSL for the building.
In her report for Monday night's meeting, council property officer April Lampe canvasses the city having first right of refusal to buy the site if it decided to grant a purchase option to the RSL.
She points out if such a process was adopted the council would need to buy the property at a commercial price.
"This presents a financial risk for council as council may not be in a financial position to purchase the land and building at market value at the time," Ms Lampe wrote.
" If the FROR (first right of refusal) lapses, RSL Victoria would be in a position to secure another purchaser for the land and building and the community benefit of the site may be lost."
RSL Victoria have earmarked it for a "one-stop shop" to help veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.
It would replace the existing Hume Veterans' Information Centre and provide additional services.