A historic Southern Highlands jail is set to be reinvented as a hotel and entertainment precinct now that its sale has been confirmed.
The sale of the former Berrima Correctional Centre for $7 million to the Blue Sox Group was described as an “outstanding result” by NSW minister for planning and homes Anthony Roberts.
“I am excited to announce that Blue Sox Group is the successful proponent and will redevelop the site, carefully considering its heritage significance to the local community,” Mr Roberts said.
“The proposal incorporates a boutique hotel whilst retaining the beautiful grounds of the estate, and will include a café, restaurant, bar, community and event areas, and spaces which will cater for small business opportunities such as antique and book shops, personal services, art galleries, library and museum.”
The historic building, which opened as a correctional facility in 1839, has become a site of significance for the local community as it stands directly in the heart of the town.
Minister for Corrections Geoff Lee touched on some of the building’s many lives in addressing the future of the important site.
“[It has] had many uses, including being a German prisoner camp during World War I, a training centre, and minimum-security prison for men that was later converted to also accommodate women,” Mr Lee said.
“The NSW government retired the correctional centre in 2020 and I’m excited to see how the site will be transformed.”
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said that Property and Development NSW (PDNSW) had conducted a rigorous process to identify the right proposal for the jail’s future.
“I am confident the expressions of interest criteria was structured to ensure the successful proponent delivered a strong proposal that provided a broad range of social, economic and cultural benefits for Berrima and the Southern Highlands,” Ms Tuckerman said.
The government noted that the heritage-listed buildings on the site have the highest protections in place and will be preserved and protected.
Blue Sox Group has committed to working with the community, local Indigenous groups and the Local Aboriginal Land Council on collaborative ideas to preserve and celebrate the wider site’s heritage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.
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