After a fire severely damaged the abandoned Commercial Hotel building on the 22nd of May, Yass Valley Council issued an order for the building’s demolition, deeming the building unsafe to repair. On the 30th of May, Council released the following statement.


“Yass Valley Council has issued a development control order requiring the demolition of the Commercial Hotel on Comur Street, Yass. Due to the extent of fire damage, a Structural Assessment report concluded that the remaining structure is in an unstable condition and requires demolition. Council will continue to work with the landowner to ensure these works take place as soon as possible.”

The iconic champagne glass craned to safety. Still photo from Barry O’ Mara’s video on Yass Notice Board

Council’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Berry spoke to the Yass Valley Times about the order, how long residents should expect the demolition to take, whether the demolition would affect day-to-day main street activities, and what to expect moving forward. 


“We’ve issued an order for the demolition of the building. There was a supporting structural engineering report that basically said with the roof collapsing and the timber floors and structures being lost, the walls were only being held up by centuries-old foundations and they were unstable. The engineers concluded that the structure needed to be demolished, so the order basically directed them to do that work.”


Chris confirms that as of the 31st of May, demolition has already – to a degree – begun, as the Commercial Hotel sign was removed from the building that morning, and placed in storage. Chris and Council expect the demolition to be a roughly two-week process, however, acknowledge that it depends on the availability of the demolition companies. 

For those concerned about interference on the main street and local businesses, Chris notes that the main street will continue largely uninterrupted, with the exception of the pre-existing exclusion zone. 


“It shouldn’t be closed, there will be an exclusion zone as there is at the moment”, said Chris, commenting further;


“What we’ve done is we’ve put some pedestrian diversions in place to get people to move across the road before they get to that section. We put some protections in place, they will remain in place more than likely until such time that the demolition is completed”. 


Chris expects minimal impact on local businesses, acknowledging that the site does take up foot traffic and parking areas but not significantly. 


“There might be a little bit of a problem at the moment with restrictions on part of the street with pedestrian restrictions and car parking spaces out front of the building have been taken out, but we do have other car parking areas that are under-utilised nearby, and we do have those arrangements in place for pedestrians to bypass that section to access other businesses, so I think there will be some potential impacts but I don’t think they’ll be significant at this stage”, said Chris. 

The Commercial Hotel ablaze – photo credit Scott Yates –

Chris confirms that it is currently too early to determine what will take the Commercial Hotel’s place, or when such plans will be decided. Chris confirms that, prior to the decision to take down the building, developers were keen to keep aspects of the Commercial Hotel. Chris also confirms that while Council has not yet decided on the appropriate use of the land, Council does have a part in whatever will be developed next. 


 “All development on the main street requires Council approval, they require planning approval, building approval. We’ve been in contact with the people who were interested in redeveloping the site, obviously their initial thoughts were to retain the historic parts of the building.” 


The issue now is that we’re back to the drawing board because the old elements are no longer there”, said Chris.


Chris confirms that whatever will occupy the space will be in keeping with the heritage area, stating


 “The principles of redevelopment in those areas is to ensure that the redevelopment fits in with the heritage values in nearby properties, so it’s sympathetic to the streetscape”.

Griffin Palen