• Tony Bosworth

Richmond’s 1875 Post Office to be restored, open for business with café, wine bar and shops

Property consultant Matthew Bennett has snapped up Richmond’s iconic Colonial-era Post Office on Windsor Street, and has big plans for its future.

Matthew Bennett - new owner of the Colonial-era Richmond Post Office

Those plans include a complete heritage restoration, space for boutique retailers and he is also looking for café and wine bar operators for the connected Stables that will open up into Richmond Park.

Once completed, BCM will showcase their sales, leasing and development projects in the main building with what Mr Bennett calls “quirky boutiques” in other parts of the building.

He says he has already been in talks with Richmond Good Food Market – who operate on Saturday mornings in Richmond Park – to extend their stalls into the Post Office’s main outside space.

Mr Bennett said he had dreamt of owning the building for a quarter of a century.

“In essence, it will not only become a precinct that can be enjoyed by everyone locally, but will become a Discover the Hawkesbury tourism destination and assist the local business economy,” he said.

The building – which was designed in 1875 by Colonial Architect James Barnett and completed in 1888 – has most recently been owned by multi-millionaire Sydney Polo Club owner, Peter Higgins.

Richmond's imposing 1875 Post Office set for a new lease of life

The property was originally listed for sale at $4m in June 2019, but the asking price has fallen several times since then. The Post Office has been on the market for around 18 months. Mr Higgins originally bought the building in 2006 for $2.145m. In 2016, a development application was lodged with Hawkesbury Council to convert the building into a restaurant and bar at a projected cost of $2.9 million. That plan stalled and the building was then put up for sale in 2019.

Mr Bennett says he is dedicated to “restoring the Hawkesbury’s most iconic historic building back to its former glory” and aims to use as many local businesses as he can for the restoration and outfitting work.

“It needs lots of love but we are looking forward to the responsibility of restoring this architectural masterpiece for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

“We see it as a legacy project and want to make the locals proud of the result. We want the community to feel part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Mr Bennett says he has already employed a local builder and heritage architect and says he will engage heritage consultants and experts for the entire project as it progresses.

BCM will be holding an Open Day – date to be announced in a few weeks time - so locals can tour the building before restoration starts.

“By this time next year, weekends in Richmond will be families walking through the food markets, playing in the park, having lunch at The Stables and then visiting all the local shops in the main street,” Mr Bennett says.

BCM is currently based at Schofields but with this acquisition the company will be expanding its operations into the Hawkesbury.

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