This grand lady of Rankin Street is set for a new life - and a beautiful new purpose.
The historic Lachlan Arcade, most recently SYLO, is to become a social enterprise cafe under the auspice of CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes.
CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes CEO Anne-Marie Mioche explains this will be a safe place where women and young people can learn skills and gain confidence to enter - or re-enter - the workforce - as well as reopening this beautiful building to our community once again.
The social enterprise cafe concept is a proven one, the organisation runs similar venues in Wilcannia and Bourke, Ms Mioche explains.
It connects to other CatholicCare services to provide pathways forward for people.
"It's about learning all the things you need to know to work for any employer," Ms Mioche said.
"We provide training.
"We are really experienced at doing that and it pays off.
"We hire someone from the community - who might not necessarily have the skills - but they become the most passionate workers and advocates for their community."
They also become the mentors of the next generation.
The venture has success stories even from its short three years in the other communities where it's established: women have come into the cafes from safe houses and there grown in confidence, connection and skill.
They do learn hospitality-specific skills but the program is designed to give them options to go into any field.
"We get them to a stage where they can get jobs with anyone. There's the option to move into any field once they have that confidence and get that experience," Ms Mioche said.
SYLO is a beautiful building with so much potential, Ms Mioche says.
"It's opportunities for women and young people, but it's also good for the town," she said.
"We mean to start small but start well, with the cafe."
Toni Hanns has been appointed the social enterprise manager and is working to fit the venue for its new purpose.
She's delighted to be welcoming staff on board and hopeful the cafe will be ready to open its doors in another month or so.
CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes staff gathered there for dinner last week, where Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green performed a blessing of Sylo and the vision for the café.
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