by JAMES POYNER
8th April 2024

The former site of the Warrandyte Café, 61-63 Yarra Street, is on the market.

The property is just over 1.3 acres and currently has two buildings: the former Warrandyte Café site, which closed following damage sustained during the 2021 Melbourne earthquake, and a “cottage”.

Both buildings are advertised to have been restumped and had their plumbing replaced.

The Real Estate agent spruiks the property as having “the scale and potential for a substantial commercial venture or the ultimate riverfront home (STCA)” in its advertising brochure.

The potential sale of this property sparks new potential for the development of the Stiggant Reserve precinct, which is already a hot topic in the community given the continued dereliction of the former Warrandyte Garage—which has only recently been cleaned up due to community complaints to Council regarding graffiti.

But, what is truly possible for 61-63 Yarra Street?

The property has several planning overlays which could significantly impact any development:

  • Environmental Significance Overlay Schedule 3
  • Environmental Significance Overlay Schedule 5
  • Design and Development Overlay Schedule 2 (Yarra/Birrarung Corridor)
  • Design and Development Overlay Schedule 3 (Warrandyte Environmental Residential Area)
  • Heritage Overlay
  • Land Subject to Inundation
  • Significant Landscape Overlay Schedule 2
  • Bushfire Management Overlay

With the property boundary on the edge of the Warrandyte Riverwalk path, the site also includes the grassy paddock between Police Street and the area just behind the Community Church.

Presently, the property is also utilised by Warrandyte Riverside Market.

“The plots are used for car parks which we enter off Police Street,” said Greg Rowell, Market Manager of Warrandyte Riverside Market.

“They are used by both stallholder parking and the Lions Club for public parking.”

The Diary asked Mr Rowell about the impact on the market if the potential new owners did not allow the market to use the property anymore and if the market—as a stakeholder in the precinct—had any opinion regarding the future use of 61-63 Yarra Street.

“The market will need to find an area for stall holders to park, and it will further complicate plans for those members of the public who require car parking.

“I don’t think the market has any comment about any future development of the sites.

“We understand the titles are subject to many overlays so it will depend on the objectives of the eventual purchaser.

“The market, of course, will contact the new owner and request access to the car parks.

“The current owners have been very community-minded and the committee of management of the market thank them for allowing the area to be used for car parking.”

Warrandyte Diary also contacted the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) for comment regarding the site.

Association President Terry Tovey said the WCA would ideally like to see the site used for retirement or social housing, given its proximity to services.

“However, because so much of the land is subject to a flood overlay, that would require a joint venture with Council, whereby the flood-prone land would be reserved for community parking, and we do not know whether Council would have any interest in that.

“On the matter of parking, much of the site is currently used for parking for community events such as the festival and market.

“This has been due to the generosity and community-mindedness of the current owners.

“Whatever the final use of the site, the loss of that parking would significantly impact community life.”

Given the planning restrictions, Mr Tovey also proposed an alternate use for the land.

“We don’t know what planning restrictions may apply to the land and whether any redevelopment is possible.

“It would be no bad thing if the land could revert to public open space with revegetation suited to the river reserve,” he said.

The Diary also contacted the current owners, but they were unable to provide comments in time for publication.