Wel­come sup­port for re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of city’s CBD

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - with Tony Rag­gatt

A RE­PORT in In­vestor to­day that the State Gov­ern­ment is sup­port­ing de­vel­op­ment of top-grade of­fice space in the CBD is great news.

Townsville City Coun­cil is also sup­port­ing re­vi­talis- ation of the CBD and is con­sid­er­ing in­cen­tives to help kick-start de­vel­op­ment.

Whether the po­lit­i­cal rhetoric trans­lates to real sup­port re­mains to be seen.

For ex­am­ple, state-owned cor­po­ra­tion Er­gon En­ergy, which is seek­ing about 6800sq m for an ad­min­is­tra­tive head­quar­ters, is mak­ing no guar­an­tees it will take up space in the CBD.

Er­gon CEO Ian McLeod said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was work­ing on the cri­te­ria for its re­quire­ments which would prob­a­bly in­clude a need for vicin­ity to the air­port and ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘‘ We are there to see what the mar­ket has to of­fer and judge those of­fers on those mer­its,’’ he said.

‘‘ We are not con­strain­ing the mar­ket by say­ing it has to be in the CBD.’’

Sub­ur­ban sites may well be cheaper than those in the city. Re­quire­ments for green- star rat­ing could also mean rents for a new build­ing will have to be around 50 per cent above the cur­rent level for A grade space in the city of around $ 300 a me­tre.

Some­where along the line, though, the sta­tus of the CBD as the com­mer­cial hub must be con­firmed. The sur­vival of the CBD de­pends on it. In last week’s col­umn, Busi­ness Desk stressed the im­por­tance of the re­gion de- velop­ing ethanol plants but then put back the planned com­mis­sion­ing date of one of the plants be­ing pro­posed.

In fact, North Queens­land Bio-En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion’s $ 425 mil­lion mill pro­posal in the Her­bert district is plan­ning for pro­duc­tion to start in 2014 and not 2015 or 2016 as quoted. Work to build Aust­cane’s $200 mil­lion plant in the Bur­dekin is set to start this year for com­mis­sion­ing in 2013.

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