A row of houses along Albert Street in Sebastopol look set for demolition after the City of Ballarat council opted to abandon a heritage overlay on the area.
The row of houses are wedged between two commercial hotspots, with the likes of McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s Pizza and Hungry Jacks all residing along the strip.
However under the heritage overlay the properties, which were built in the 1920s, were not able to be knocked down.
Property owner Denise Knight, who along with her son bought two of the houses in 2004 and 2006, said she was pleased to see council had decided against retaining the homes’ heritage protection.
“We thought (commercial) was the best use of the land and that’s why we bought it in the first place,” Ms Knight said.
The properties were thought to have been of particular significance given they were built by the-then Mayor of Sebastopol, Evan Jenkins.
In September 2016 council’s Sebastopol Heritage Study found that while the seven-property ‘Jenkins Row Precinct’ “was notable for its consistent character”, the interwar period-style home was better represented elsewhere in Ballarat.
Prior to the change, a series of plans including a childcare centre which did not involve demolishing the houses had been knocked back by council.
South Ward councillor Des Hudson said the properties did not make a significant contribution to the streetscape and the space could be better used commercially.
“There’s an opportunity to grow new businesses and new jobs and from my perspective I’d be encouraging people to invest in that Albert Street precinct,” Cr Hudson said. “Over time what we’re seeing is there are people who are wanting to come and trade here.”
Four of the Jenkins Row properties plus 2A Kent Street have now hit the market for lease, with expressions of interest being sought to develop the 4000-square-metre block into a commercial space.
Burgess Rawson Real Estate agent Andrew Kausman said the block had the potential to be a single or mixed-use site.
“It shows it’s an important area when all the big name brands are already there,” Mr Kausman said.