Grand hotel planned for CBD
THE former Commonwealth Bank building and city library in Flinders St could get a new lease on life as a boutique hotel.
However t he building’s owner Val Llewellyn and a director of neighbouring business, Peter Summers of Townsville Brewing Company, stressed it was early days in considering future uses for the heritage-listed property.
‘ ‘ There are no ( formal) plans for the building at this stage,’’ Mr Llewellyn said.
‘‘ I have approvals to restore it to commercial and retail ( uses). ‘‘ Peter has spoken to me about potentially doing this boutique hotel.
‘‘ It certainly lends itself to that sort of use.’’
Mr Llewellyn acquired the property in 2005, buoyed by plans to open up the former Flinders Mall to traffic.
The building, one of the first multi-storey buildings constructed with reinforced concrete in Townsville in 1924, was developed for the Commonwealth Bank.
More recently, the Townsville City Council used the building as the city library and sold it in 2000.
The f ormer post of f i ce b u i l d i n g n e x t d o o r was redeveloped into The Brewery brewing house and bar around the same time.
Mr Summers s ai d The Brewery’s downstairs tavern and restaurant had been refurbished and work was under way to develop a banquet centre for conferences, wedding r eceptions, product launches and meetings on its second floor.
A boutique hotel next door with the possibility of linking the buildings and making use of the laneway between the properties could make for better use of the buildings and t heir ‘ ‘ magnificent’’ heritage values, he said.
The ideas had been raised with council representatives who had also supported the concept.
‘‘ It’s a concept that I have put together to expand The Brewery but it’s really early days,’’ Mr Summers said.
Mr Llewellyn said they had cleaned out the building and had done some work to restore its original facade and 6m-high plaster ceilings on the lower floor.
The building was originally designed to be developed to four storeys and with the use of modern light-weight materials, another four levels could be added to the structure.
There are existi ng approvals to excavate part of the site for car parking.
Mr Llewellyn was unsure when redevelopment could occur, adding that activity needed to pick up in Townsville.
Any plans may not be finalised until, at the very least, later this year, he said.