BALLARAT’S former RSL building failed to sell at auction yesterday, but estate agents remain confident a sale is just around the corner.
Almost 100 onlookers packed the auction room, filled mostly with interested RSL members.
As Kurt Mackiewicz from G Gull and Co recited the rich history of the building, tears welled up in the eyes of a number of former servicemen.
However, the crowd of almost 100 onlookers fell silent as the auction got underway, as the bidding opened at $1.5 million.
Auctioneer Stewart Gull scaled the bidding back to $1.3 million, before making a vendor bid of $1.1 million.
Still the bidders kept their hands in their pockets.
Eventually one bidder put up their hand up with a bid of $1.15 million, although it fell short of the reserve of $1.5 million.
Mr Gull said extensive negotiations followed the sale yesterday, both with the bidder and a number of other interested parties.
“We are very close to reaching a point of sale. Private negotiations are still going on,” he said.
Mr Gull said he was not surprised most people kept quiet during the auction, especially since the majority were RSL members.
“People are fairly conservative in the tough economic climate at the moment. The climate is not as good as it once was,” he said.
“But people are still doing their homework and we are fairly confident of a sale pretty soon.”
Built in 1901 by surgeon William Cussen, the two-storey building was listed for sale in November 2011 after it was deemed inappropriate and the Ballarat RSL sub branch relocated to The George Hotel in Lydiard Street North.
The building is described as an iconic property in an enviable location with no structural alterations.