ONE of Bendigo's most iconic inner-city buildings has been sold.
The former Webb and Co building, on the corner of Williamson and Queen streets, has been the site of a major redevelopment project for several years, with plans to convert the former warehouse into 15 apartments and one shop, serviced by a lift and remote access from Queen Street.
Williams Real Estate principal director Bill Williams said the property had sold to a construction company based in Keilor with strong connections back to the Bendigo community.
He said the building conversion was about 70 per cent complete, and that works to finalise the 15 one and two-bedroom apartments was expected to conclude in about four months.
"I think this sale demonstrates the confidence that exists in the Bendigo market," Mr Williams said.
"The new owners were aware of the new motel plans for the CBD, the GovHub, the new law courts and the new TAFE building works and these other projects further instilled in them the confidence to invest in Bendigo."
More than 20 interested parties lodged submissions as part of the expressions of interest campaign that commenced in late 2020 for the highly prized and prominent site.
Mr Williams said there were many interested parties that had been left disappointed at being unable to secure the property.
"This again shows the strength of Bendigo.
"I was blown away at how much interest this process has generated," he said.
Mr Williams said many Bendigo residents would be unaware of just how advanced works on the apartments were, and estimated plastering had been completed on as many as 10 of the 15 apartments expected to be available upon completion.
The many and varied challenges of working in such an old building, such as heritage considerations, issues with the flooring, and updating the wiring and insulation, contributed to delays in the development.
The four-storey Webb and Co building was constructed by William Webb in the 1870s as a flour mill. At one stage it produced 2500 sacks per week.
Webb died in 1909 and production stopped in 1923.
The building was then refitted for the So Easy sewing machine company, with the first machine christened by Acting Prime Minister Earle Page on October 10, 1923.
In later years it also served as a nightclub.
It sits on 633 square metres of commercial-zoned land and includes approximately 1354 square metres of floorspace.
Visual reminders of the famous building's industrial heritage will feature in the new interiors, with partially exposed brick walls and exposed beams.
The exterior of the heritage building has to be preserved as part of the project, which was originally mooted as far back as 2012.
Upon completion, the building and its 15 new apartments are expected to tempt young professionals, and perhaps Airbnb operators, as well as others looking to secure an inner city lifestyle in the heart of the thriving regional city that is Bendigo.
"The City of Greater Bendigo has said it wants to bring new life into the CBD - this project can only help," Mr Williams said.
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