After a decade of sitting vacant, one of Warrnambool CBD's most prominent sites will soon be a hive of activity with construction of luxury apartments set to start within weeks.
Buyer interest has been flooding in since expressions of interest were first called for the $9 million Criterion Vision project just before Christmas, including from as far away as the United States.
Spokesman Bill Welsh said work was just weeks away from starting on the 10 townhouses in Kepler Street which each come with their own lift.
"It's not far away," he said. "Everything's ready to go.
"There's been a lot of interest in the site."
Ray White Real Estate's Jason Thwaites said a number of genuine buyers had signalled their intention to purchase some of the townhouses.
"The early expressions of interest campaign has certainly attracted attention from far and wide," Mr Thwaites said.
He said there were out-of-town people who either had connections to the area but there were also some who came from as far away as the United States.
Mr Thwaites said he wasn't surprised with the level of interest in the property.
"It's a very well designed complex in a location that had absolute access to everything. You don't even really need a car," he said.
"It's an inner city metropolitan lifestyle in a growing coastal city."
The project features four three-storey, four-bedroom townhouses facing Kepler Street and six more at the rear of the property.
From street level, they will appear two storey and include an underground car park.
The rear townhouses will be smaller but still three-storey with double garage and three bedrooms.
Mr Welsh said it was exciting to see something finally about to happen.
The site was home to the popular Criterion pub before it closed its doors in January 2008 and was destroyed by fire in February 2010.
The damage caused by the blaze was so bad, what was left of the historic hotel had to be pulled down in 2013 for safety reasons.
The original hotel was built in 1872, and the design of the new townhouses was a nod to its history with many of the features reflecting the distinctive curved exterior of the former Criterion Hotel.
Mr Thwaites said the build was very "high-spec".
He said there weren't many apartments in town that came close to that level of design.
"Each one has their own lifts and therefore covers all spectrums of the buyer market including retirees and downsizers," Mr Thwaites said.
He said the developer had tried to involve as many locals as possible in the project.
Initial plans for the site unveiled in 2019 included a four-storey inner city development with 40 apartments, shops and offices, but that idea was shelved in favour of townhouses.
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