Lancini plan is a sad loss to city heart

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North -

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.

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