Tow­ers talk for the city

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Tony Rag­gatt tony. rag­gatt@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

DE­VEL­OP­MENT groups are lin­ing up to build the next gen­er­a­tion of of­fice tow­ers in Townsville as big pri­vate com­pa­nies and State Gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties chase deals for top-grade, green star-rated of­fice space.

The cur­rent think­ing is that there is enough de­mand to build two tow­ers worth $ 100 mil­lion.

The de­vel­oper of the planned 12-level Verde pro­ject at 4 4 5 Fl i nders St , Stephen Go sling, said Townsville was des­per­ate for of­fice space and that the con­di­tions fol­low­ing the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, which put the brakes on de­vel­op­ment, were thaw­ing.

‘ ‘ Since Christ­mas the phones have started ring­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘ There are enough names in the mar­ket­place to fill our build­ing twice.’’

Elec­tric­ity re­tailer Er­gon En­ergy has called ten­ders for a con­sul­tant to help the or­gan­i­sa­tion source about 6800sq m of new of­fice space, while Premier Anna Bligh re­vealed late last year the gov­ern­ment was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of build­ing more gov­ern­ment of­fice space in the CBD.

La­bor MP for Townsville Mandy John­stone yes­ter­day sup­ported the gov­ern­ment plans. She said the gov­ern­ment was in dis­cus­sions with the Townsville coun­cil about the op­tions.

There are also large pri­vate com­pa­nies seek­ing qual­ity space to present a more pro­fes­sional out­look to cus­tomers and staff and take ad­van­tage of lower con­struc­tion costs and ac­tiv­ity.

The list of po­ten­tial sites is di­verse. In the CBD, apart from Verde, sites in­clude Hon­ey­combes’ Cen­tral rail- way­land, Lau­rence Lancini’s and Mark Adams’ for­mer T& G build­ing prop­erty in Stan­ley St and a for­mer Hed­ley site in Walker St con­trolled by Chinese in­vestor Ming Kong Chan.

Other pos­si­bil­i­ties in­clude the Aus­texx-Lancini Flin­ders St prop­er­ties, in­vestor Bill Spee’s for­mer Buchanan Ho­tel site in Sturt St and the Cow­boys Leagues Club site in Flin­ders St.

Even the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion site of the Townsville Bul­let in site has been sug­gested as an op­tion.

There is also a long list of po­ten­tial sites in the sub­urbs, how­ever, city lead­ers are adamant the CBD must be rein­vig­o­rated.

CBD Task­force chair­man Craig Stack said de­vel­op­ment of ma­jor of­fices should be sited in the in­ner-city to sup­port com­merce and pop­u­la­tion growth in the CBD.

A 12-level tower like Verde could host a work­force of about 1000 peo­ple.

GO­ING UP: de­mand for top-grade of­fice space is fu­elling spec­u­la­tion

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