Salvos hope for $8m from sale of Geelong Conference Centre
The Salvation Army stands to earn up to $8 million from the sale of conference centre in prime Geelong parkland.
The charity listed the 4500sqm Geelong Conference Centre in Eastern Park in an expressions of interest campaign with Colliers International, Geelong agents Andrew Lewis, Guy Wells and Ben Young.
Young says the international search hopes to unearth an owner-operator to buy the 1.6ha special use zone property next to the East Geelong Golf Club.
Price expectations were between $7 million and $8 million, he says.
“We’ve had interest from local and interstate operators and we expect to even get international operators,” Young says.
He says developments at Avalon Airport’s international terminal meant the centre will attract buyers with a tourism focus as well as a corporate focus.
“This is a rare opportunity to purchase a magnificent operating conference centre within a sought-after location on the grounds of the Geelong Botanic Gardens and adjoining the East Geelong Golf Course.
“We are expecting strong interest from local, national and international owner-occupiers.”
Renowned architects McGlashan Everist designed the complex, which opened as the Institute of Educational Administration — an educational bush retreat in an urban setting in 1981.
The Salvos purchased the property for $2.35 million in 1994 and embarked on a $2 million upgrade to the facility in 2008, taking out the Tourism Accommodation Award at the 2010 Geelong Advertiser Business Excellence Awards.
The centre also served as the home base for the Australian cycling team for the UCI Road Cycling World Championships, also in 2010.
Salvation Army Victoria commander Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Stevens says the sale of the property reflects a decision by the Salvation Army to focus all available resources on its mission to serve people living in hardship.
“The Geelong Conference Centre has hosted conferences of Salvos, community and business groups. It has been a place of learning, collaboration and development for many,” he says.
“However, running a conference centre — even in a setting as inspiring as the Geelong Botanic Gardens — is not central to what we do. We help those who fall on hard times and the Salvos in Geelong, the Bellarine and across Victoria and Australia are on a campaign to place even greater focus on our mission to serve the community.”
The resort-style conference centre has seven conference rooms in various sizes, with 46 accommodation suites, an open dining area, full commercial kitchen and extensive gardens, including an in-ground swimming pool and spa.
Lewis says Geelong’s position as Victoria’s second city will draw potential buyers.
“Geelong is only 75km from Melbourne’s CBD, which is easily accessible by ferry, road and rail,” Lewis says.
“Avalon Airport is only 15km north of Geelong and is Victoria’s second international airport, with regular national and international flights, including to Asia,” he said.
“Geelong has a strong corporate base but also captures leisure tourists as it is seen as being the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula, Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road.”
Expressions of interest close March 11.
This article from the Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “Salvation Army puts resort-style Geelong Conference Centre on the market with big price hopes”.