BALLARAT’S Civic Hall precinct inspired grand plans but, one-by-one, the ideas fell at hurdles.
Since 2002 there have been several major proposals for the site.
A $20 million twin tower hotel and a 1000-seat convention centre. A mix of accommodation, office space and boutique retail space. Even a dramatic $40 million gold-inspired office building and car park. They all failed to reach the finish line.
Various attempts to re-adapt the building for viable alternatives have also been unsuccessful.
A report in 2000 showed the Ballarat City Council faced “major budgetary impacts” if the hall was to stay open, including a $1 million overhaul of the facility to bring it up to modern standards.
One of the largest commercial landholdings within the Ballarat CBD, the site was slated for a 130-room Ramada Hotel and a 1000-seat convention centre after the hall’s closure in 2002.
But developer Folkstone later abandoned the project.
Next, Civic Place Group proposed a mix of accommodation, office space and boutique retail for the site.
But the council terminated the deal after it decided Civic Place Group did not have adequate financial backing to supports its plans.
A few months later, the city unveiled a proposal of its own: new council accommodation building which called for the demolition of the existing hall.
In December 2011, Ballarat City councillors voted six to three to abandon the project, which was dogged by widespread community opposition.
Other redevelopment ideas raised by different groups and individuals have included a film studio, swimming pool, backpacker hostel, student housing, bus interchange, tourist information centre, medical precinct, hospital, shopping centre, bowling alley, offices and apartments.