A landmark Ballarat building which was once the state bank has been sold at auction to a Melbourne couple who had never set foot inside the property.
Vicki and David Nolan said they discovered the Sturt Street property, which dates back to 1872, available for sale on the internet.
They bought it for more than $2 million in a tense auction on Friday, the first day the 25km travel limits were lifted for Melburnians.
The couple said the purchase of the heritage-listed building right in the heart of the CBD was a bit unexpected.
"We hadn't even been to Ballarat to see the outside," said Mrs Nolan.
"It's nice to have a bit of history in Ballarat we always loved it.
"We love the heritage building, we loved where it was."
The Nolans defeated another bidder is a see-sawing contest which saw offers climbing in ten thousand jumps before the hammer fell at two million and seventy thousand dollars.
"It's a beautiful old building who wouldn't want to buy it?" Mr Nolan said.
"It looks way better in real life, it's fantastic."
The two level office complex plus a basement boasts a street frontage on 70 meters along both Sturt and Camp Streets.
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The commercially zoned property was remodeled and extended in 1978 and was refurbished again in 1999.
Colliers managing director Andrew Lewis who was the auctioneer said the sale was reasonably significant.
"It's over two million dollars, so you don't get too many sales in Ballarat over two million," he said.
Mr Lewis said it showed the market was full of cash with property a good option.
"People are cashed up and they are looking to spend it. The last 18 months has created a degree of uncertainty where people weren't spending their money so it just builds up like a dam and then once they get the opportunity, she floods out," he said.
The sale of is part of a trend in non-residential real estate in the area, said Mr Lewis.
"Commercial property in Ballarat has been reasonably strong lately. There's been good interest for anything we've had leased, there's been good interest for industrial for development opportunities."
The Sturt Street building, which has been sold by the state government is currently set up with offices.
The Nolan's are now in the market for a tenant and are open to ideas.
"Hopefully someone will do it some justice. Really whoever wants it and wants to do something nice with it," Mrs Nolan said.
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