Lancini plan is a sad loss to city heart
DEVELOPER Laurence Lancini’s patience has finally run out. The long-time Townsville developer has pulled out of a joint venture with Austexx retail group subsidiary Austexx Corporation Pty Ltd to develop a major portion of the CBD, known as the Flinders Plaza. As Mr Lancini said yesterday, it’s a disappointing outcome and ‘‘ a real loss for Townsville’’. The Lancini Group claims the conduct of Austexx Corporation Pty Ltd leaves the company with no alternative but to bring its involvement in the project to an end. Mr Lancini entered into a joint venture agreement with Austexx Corporation in 2007 to acquire and redevelop a series of CBD properties in a project known as Flinders Plaza. A company called Flinders Plaza Pty Ltd was incorporated to kick-start the development and it is this entity which holds title to the properties in almost an entire city block bounded by Flinders, Stoke, Sturt and Stanley streets worth $ 40 million. Mr Lancini holds a 25 per cent interest – including board representation – and Austexx Corporation holds a 75 per cent interest. In an extraordinary scenario, the Lancini Group says repeated attempts to organise a meeting to discuss the future of Flinders Plaza had been met with silence from the Austexx directors. This situation, says the Lancini Group, means it is untenable for Mr Lancini, as minority shareholder, to stay involved in Flinders Plaza . The silver lining for the people of Townsville is that the current mall redevelopment was essentially progressed on the basis that the Flinders Plaza project would proceed. Had this happened 18 months ago, it is unlikely the mall redevelopment would have gone ahead. Nevertheless, it is a major blow to the long-term prosperity of the inner city. Let’s hope that when the market does turn for the better, the project can be brought back to life. BRITISH Royalty will get a taste of North Queensland today as the future King of England, Prince William, jets into Townsville mid-morning. Prince William will spend less than a half hour at the city’s RAAF base before heading to Cardwell and Tully to see the devastation of Cyclone Yasi and recent flooding. Tomorrow, he’ll be in south-east Queensland, in particular the Lockyer Valley, talking to those people affected by recent flooding which left fatalities in its wake. A right royal North Queensland welcome awaits Prince William and his presence is certain to lift the spirits of those so harshly affected by the bad weather. Welcome to our region, Your Royal Highness.