ICONIC Bendigo mansion Fortuna Villa will go under the hammer next month.
The Department of Defence will auction the lavish property at 11am on April 12 at The Capital theatre, Bendigo.
Marketing agents Tweed Sutherland and Knight Frank have been jointly appointed for the sale and are expecting it to generate plenty of interest.
The Department of Defence previously offered the property under a priority sale arrangement to all levels of government.
In January 2010, the City of Greater Bendigo resolved that it would not buy the property.
The state of Victoria subsequently made an offer for priority sale, which for budgetary reasons was not supported by the Australian government.
The Villa Fortuna Action Group yesterday expressed disappointment about the auction date.
Group president Mearle Hall said she had been led to believe the property would not be placed on the market until May.
But Knight Frank director of commercial sales Michael Hede said an auction date had not been set until now.
“There was a lot of inaccurate speculation, but we had never told anyone it was May,” he said. “The auction is in April, April 12.”
Mr Hede said he was expecting bids for the property to be about $2.5 million.
“It’s the opportunity to purchase 7.57 hectares of land in Bendigo with probably the most prestigious heritage house in Victoria on it, on a hill overlooking the city of Bendigo,” he said.
“Based on the last campaign, we will have a good level of strong buyer interest.”
Tweed Sutherland’s Craig Tweed said he expected the anticipated price range would attract strong buyer inquiries.
“One lucky purchaser is going to realise the dream of a lifetime,” he said.
“The property is exceptionally well maintained by the Department of Defence, and the garden setting is very special.
“I don’t believe ongoing security and maintenance is as big an issue as some people believe due to the specific Defence requirements, which are not considered typical.
“Whoever purchases Fortuna will secure an exceptional property millions of dollars below replacement cost and which is an important part of our city’s future.”
Ms Hall yesterday learned of the auction date and described it as “disappointingly soon”.
Just last week former mayor Daryl McClure and Goldmines Hotel owner Rick Walduck presented a proposal to the City of Greater Bendigo for a new residential development at the site of the 60-room mansion.
But councillors were hesitant to endorse any particular proposal for the historic site.
“It’s a week since the council considered those recommendations,” Ms Hall said yesterday.
“We hope that this business plan will be able to put forward and considered.”