THE man who owns Mount Evelyn is selling up.
And the sale of Arch Carswell’s massive chunk of the CBD could change the town forever.
Mr Carswell, who has owned prominent shops and residences in the town centre for almost 60 years, is putting the properties on the market due to illness.
The move paves way for a potential large-scale development, but Mr Carswell said he was too ill to comment on the sale.
Beautiful Bellies owner Karen Trevorrow, one of Mr Carswell’s tenants, feared the move could change Mount Evelyn.
“I’m a bit disappointed and I’m concerned that it will change the landscape and the community feel of our town,” she said.
“I’m worried that because it’s being sold as a block, it’ll go to a major developer such as Safeway, who will then change the block.
“If they reinvested and kept the shops and worked with the Mount Evelyn Township Improvement Committee (METIC) and Morrisons on what the community needed, that would be fantastic.
“If they look at selling the properties individually, I will certainly have a look and if I’m allowed, I might buy my shop.”
METIC secretary Jan Simmons said the land had been the subject of much interest to the committee and METIC would be keen to work with the new buyer to achieve the best business and community outcomes.
“The buyer who is going to purchase the property ought to be aware of the community interest in the use of the land,” she said.
“The land is probably more valuable as a single parcel than individual lots because more parking spaces can be provided.
“However, there have been at least two previous attempts at development that have included the site as a whole, a Woolworths and a medical centre, but neither have been successful.
“We would like to stand beside whoever comes to the scene and tell them what the community is about.”
Yarra Ranges Council Billanook Ward councillor Tim Heenan hoped the current lessees would have the chance to purchase their own shops.
“I hope some of the businesses might get the opportunity to buy their own shops because a lot of them want to, rather than someone buying the whole thing,” he said.
“With the new kid coming in, chances are they will change leasing options but businesses are struggling at the moment and I don’t want the Mount Evelyn township to suffer.”
President of the Mount Evelyn Chamber of Commerce Kathie Freeman said it was too early to say how this would affect Mount Evelyn and its businesses and refused to comment further.
Mr Carswell’s shops will be on the market pending expressions of interest until 4 April.
He is looking to sell his shops as a whole, totalling almost 5000 square metres.
The shops up for sale are in the block of land surrounded by Wray Crescent, Station Street and Snowball Avenue, which includes the Mount Evelyn Post Office, cafes and first floor offices.

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