Grand ho­tel planned for CBD

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - busi­ness edi­tor Tony Rag­gatt tony. rag­gatt@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

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