IT has been nearly four years since Masters Home Improvement shut its doors in Bathurst and the enormous site has been empty ever since.
But now, an existing Bathurst business is eager to make the big move into the premises, aiming to open the doors there in less than a month.
A development application (DA) has been lodged with Bathurst Regional Council by Harvey Norman for the change of use, internal alterations and commercial signage at the former Masters site, 3 Pat O'Leary Drive.
According to the Statement of Environmental Effects (SoEE) submitted with the DA, Harvey Norman will occupy part of the building, leaving the remaining area open for another suitable business to move in.
"No construction works are proposed to facilitate the use, rather the existing built form and facilities will be relied upon and temporary measures used to delineate the lease boundary from the remaining floor area within the building," the SoEE reads.
Gerry Harvey, the co-founder and executive chairman of Harvey Norman, told the Western Advocate that the move was all about making a bigger and better store for Bathurst.
He said the existing location, in Ashworth Drive, was "a good start", but not what he ultimately wanted for the Bathurst store.
"It's never been what I've wanted. I've been wanting to develop a better store, because that's like, to me, one of our C or D grade stores and it doesn't compare with what we would have in other country towns like Bathurst," Mr Harvey said.
"I've been operating in that store for years now and I just don't like it. I hate it, because it's one of those things that this store was no good for Bathurst, I've got to have something better.
"I've got a close link with Bathurst. I actually went to school at Bathurst, and so I want Bathurst to be a good shop."
ALSO MAKING NEWS: Bathurst RSL Club to reopen to the public from Friday, June 12
He described the former Masters site as "a much better site for us", as it will allow Harvey Norman Bathurst to grow as a business by 50 to 100 per cent.
The SoEE says the site would comprise of 2945 square metres of retail floor space, plus a 1560 square metre warehouse.
While the extra floor space will allow Harvey Norman Bathurst to increase its range of products, Mr Harvey also wants to use the bigger store as a chance to introduce a clearance centre.
"I've got a lot of manufacturers who've got a lot product they are having difficulty getting rid of because it's chipped, superseded, excess stock, whatever the case may be, so I've got a lot of that sort of product and I've got stores that sell that in all the capital cities in Australia, but I haven't got a country store anywhere in Australia and New Zealand that sells that stuff," he said.
"I'm going to use Bathurst as a clearance centre, as well as our shop. I think people from Dubbo, Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Molong and wherever else will probably come to Bathurst to have a look at that store because they'll find some products they won't find in their own towns."
ALSO MAKING NEWS: Here comes the sun: $200m solar farm planned for Eglinton property
While the DA has yet to be approved, Mr Harvey is confident it will be soon and that he will be able to have to doors open by July 1.
He said the bigger store will be great for Bathurst and it wouldn't make sense for council not to approve it.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for three things," he said.
"One, a great big site that's not occupied isn't going to waste; two, for Harvey Norman it will give them a much better outlet; and, three, for Bathurst, because it will be something that Bathurst hasn't got and it will bring people from all over that area into Bathurst to have a look at what we've got."
"... You can't imagine it can't happen. Why would council knock back something that's so good and zoned for it and everything? It just makes sense to do it straight away."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.