SOLD SOLD SOLD: Grand plans for iconic Warwick factory
LYING dormant for years, vandalised and derelict, the old Parmalat site has finally been sold and the new owner has an exciting vision for the historic building.
Warwick businessman Graeme Collins took ownership of the 2.42ha site in late January and he and a small team of workers have been clearing the site for refurbishment.
Mr Collins said the site, dubbed 'the Factory Precinct', had enormous potential as a retail, entertainment and heritage hub in Warwick.
"I first looked at the site as a possible purchase about three years ago,” Mr Collins said.
"But back then, the numbers didn't add up.
"At the moment though, Warwick and the Southern Downs has a lot going on with the shopping centre development, Regency Park developments, Darwalla hatchery and the chicken industry expansion and more industry and development planned.
"That, alongside promising tourism prospects and a hard-working prosperous council, I felt it was time to revisit the idea.”
Mr Collins said this time the numbers added up.
"I've got a few ideas. I like to see this area take on retail, food and drink, entertainment, cultural, heritage, a real multi-use precinct,” he said.
"And I'll be working with council and some other interested parties to rejuvenate the commercial viability of the factory precinct and, hopefully, create something Warwick can benefit from.”
Mr Collins said he had always loved old cars and old buildings and making the old new again.
"I've seen what can be done to revitalise derelict sites overseas,” he said.
"There are couple of factory precincts in New Zealand, and what they managed to do in Detroit is amazing.
"Taking rundown old eyesore factories and turning them into shopping malls, museums and boutique accommodation is magnificent.
"This place has so much potential, it's structurally sound, there are masses of floor space and it won't be an expensive exercise to be a part of this project.
"There's easily room for 20 tenants or more.”
Already, Mr Collins has had interest from a gym, food outlets and others interested in storage and office space.
"I'd like to maintain the heritage of the building as well,” Mr Collins said.
"But there are hardly any photos of the history of the building, so I'd love to hear from anyone who has old pictures or stories about the place”
Mr Collins said the building would be ready to show to potential tenants within a month.
"By then we'll have it cleaned up and the power will be on, and after that we can start to strip out everything that's been left here. I'd like to see this place buzzing within 18 months.”