Staff at St John’s Anglican Church in Camden are considering a multi-million dollar offer to buy land at the historic precinct.
The Moran Group has offered the church $7.7 million for the purchase of the precinct’s grassy slopes, historic rectory and an abutting property on Alpha Road.
The offer comes after the precinct was recently added to the state heritage register.
St John’s minister Tony Galea said staff were thrilled with the Moran Group’s offer.
“We think it’s a great offer,” he said. “Now we’re going through the process and it’s up to the congregation to share what they think.”
Parishioners will vote, via secret ballot, on whether or not they support the sale of church land to the Moran Group – which develops aged care facilities – following services on September 23.
The vote will come after information sessions – for congregation members only – are held on September 16.
Rev Galea said the Moran Group was well aware of the heritage restrictions at the site and had signalled their intention to restore the rectory to its “former glory”.
“All the heritage listing means is that any development would have to be heritage-sympathetic,” he said.
“I think an aged care facility would be a great fit for Camden and I don’t think there would be anything better suited to the site.
“People in aged care will want to be close to town.”
Selling the land will allow church staff to proceed with plans to build a secondary, “contemporary worship centre” on their grounds.
If parishioners vote in favour of the sale, the offer will pass to the Wollongong Anglican Diocese for the final decision.
Moran Group managing director Peter Moran said the company was committed to preserving the site’s heritage value.
“We definitely understand the heritage of the site and look forward to restoring the building,” he said.
“We have restored heritage buildings in the past, including Swifts at Darling Point, which we won a restoration award for.”
Mr Moran said the group was also looking to restore Studley Park House in Camden, which it owns.
He said the Moran Group was determined to work with the Camden community and church congregation to deliver a wonderful aged care facility.
“We’re looking forward to working with locals to establish a great community service in Camden,” he said.
“We understand the importance of heritage. Residents don’t need to worry about that being compromised.”
Find out more about the Moran Group’s developments at morangroup.com.au.