FOR five years one of Ballarat’s most treasured buildings has stood empty. Untouched. Unloved.
It is one of the first buildings visitors see when they step off the platform at the Ballarat train station, yet it gives anything but a grand first impression.
The Provincial Hotel has been on the real estate market for five years now, left to gather cobwebs and slowly deteriorate.
The $2.2 million price tag has scared away a lot of buyers, none of whom have been willing to cough up more than $1.7 million.
However, estate agent John Conway remains confident the right buyer is out there, they just need to be willing to spend big and invest a lot of time.
Watch Pat Nolan’s video report from inside the Provincial here.
Boasting almost 2000 square metres in floor space over three levels, the historic building was once a thriving hotel, accommodating people from far and wide.
It was once famous for serving a three-course meal in less than 20 minutes, suited to train travellers from Adelaide on quick stopovers.
Over the years it became a thriving nightspot, before its closure in 2007.
Many old couches still remain as they did at the time, particularly in the underground nightclub section. However, they are a little worse for wear.
Upstairs, the sense of budget accommodation still lingers, with bunk beds and mattresses still evident in most rooms.
TAKE A TOUR THROUGH THE PROVINCIAL
However, they too are showing signs of years of abandonment.
Outside, the neglect is also apparent.
Most of the windows are boarded up and graffiti tags are scattered along the side of the building.
Ballarat Heritage Watch president Anne Beggs-Sunter said she had been concerned about the condition of the Provincial for some time.
“It’s a very important part of Ballarat’s heritage building precinct. There is nothing else like it in Ballarat,” she said.
“It has been a matter for great concern, just sitting there deteriorating.”
Mr Conway said the building could be transformed into a range of different venues, not just a nightclub.
There is also the option of a 50-year lease put on the building instead of the $2.2 million price tag, subject to owner approval.
Mr Conway said a further $2 million in work was needed to bring the building up to scratch.
“We will leave it on the market as long as it takes,” he said.
“It’s not uncommon for a building such as this to remain vacant for an extended period, especially in regional areas such as Ballarat.”
However, it seems the hotel is set to keep its door closed for a while to come.