Developers buy Ballarat's iconic  Provincial Hotel

ONE of Ballarat’s biggest eyesores – the Provincial Hotel – has finally been sold.

Developers Darren and Janet Fraser have bought the run-down 105-year-old Lydiard Street North building for an undisclosed sum.

The Frasers have already converted the former RSL building in Lyons Street South into boutique accommodation, Ballarat Premier Apartments.

Mr Fraser said they would turn the former hotel and nightclub into 20 luxury apartments, a day spa/health club, function room and a cafe/bar. The dilapidated facade will also be restored to its former Edwardian art nouveau glory.

He said he had been negotiating the building’s sale for more than a month, and had signed the paperwork two weeks ago.

“It will be similar to what we did in Lyons Street. It will be a substantial investment.”

He said he would complete the project “100 per cent himself” and hoped to finish in 12 months after settling in early November.

“I’ve spoken to the City of Ballarat and they’ve given me great support. They’ve been fantastic.”

Mr Fraser said his plan fitted in with the recently released Ballarat Railway Station Precinct Masterplan, which highlighted the need for a boutique hotel in the area. “I think it ties in perfectly.”

The Provincial Hotel, which has been vacant since 2007, has been on the market with a $2.2 million price tag.

Ballarat Regional Tourism chief executive officer George Sossi said the sale was “fantastic” particularly if the railway masterplan went ahead.

“It will be great for Ballarat,” Mr Sossi said. “That whole end of town is really developing, which is just fantastic.”

Arts community member Erin McCuskey, who has been part of a group calling for the hotel’s restoration, said it was great it was “finally going to get some attention”.

“If it looks beautiful from the outside, it’s going to be great for Ballarat,” Ms McCuskey said. “And the boutique accommodation will be fantastic.”

However, she said it was a pity the city was losing another entertainment venue.

Ballarat Premier Apartments, which the Frasers sold to hospitality identities Danny and Nikki Quinlan before Christmas, was named Australia’s number one hotel in May.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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