Mackay Waterfront EOI process to test appetite for private investment

SIX council-owned freehold sites in the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) are earmarked as potential catalysts for exciting inner-city projects.

Such projects would support revitalisation of the City Centre and proposed waterfront public realm upgrades near these sites.

Council is about to gauge interest in the development potential of those sites through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process.

Mayor Greg Williamson said calling for expressions of interest was an opportunity to test the market appetite for development through private investment.

“It is a cost-effective way to identify options for development of the lots, especially as council has no firm view on possible projects,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“It is a good way of attracting potential private sector investment without major resource implications for both council and potential developers,’’ he said.

The sites range from the former Retravision building in Wood Street to two waterfront properties in River Street.

Cr Williamson said the decision at today’s ordinary meeting to call for expressions of interest for the six freehold sites did not commit council to continuing to a tender phase if proposals were not deemed to be in the public interest.

He said following the EOI process, council could choose to invite tenders from a shortlist if it wished to proceed.

The EOI is expected to be advertised at the end of June, with a recommendation report provided to council in August.

Respondents will be able to provide an EOI for individual or consolidated sites. Potential uses may include:

> Commercial activities providing opportunities for business, administration and professional service providers
> Accommodation activities offering a diverse range of short and long-term residential offerings
> Food and drink activities (restaurant), craft brewery, distillery, function centre or major entertainment activities overlooking the Pioneer River
> Health care and community support services
> Mixed use tourist development or unique regional attraction supporting both land and water-based tourism opportunities
> Any combination of the above.

The six council-owned freehold sites include two car parks. One is on the corner of River and Gregory streets and the other the corner of Brisbane and River streets.

“Calling for expressions of interest in these two sites does not mean council is proposing to reduce car parking to make way for development,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“There could be any number of mixed used developments which could incorporate car parking arrangements for both public and private use,’’ he said.

The properties also include 1-5 Wood Street, which is the former Pioneer Shire Council building and surrounding vacant land.

“It is important to note that the focus of this site is the available vacant land and not the building itself, which is State Heritage-listed,’’ Cr Williamson said.

The six properties which are part of the EOI process include:
> About 5800 square metres on the corner of Gregory and River streets (currently a car park).
> About 2052 square metres at 14-18 Wood Street (former Retravision building)
> About 1470 square metres at 1-15 Wood Street (former Pioneer Shire Council building and surrounding vacant land and access ways
> About 4300 square metres on corner of Brisbane and River streets (currently a car park).
> About 2065 square metres at 8 River Street (currently a building with lessees)
> About 4273 square metres at 6 River Street (currently a vacant building)

Council is also currently focusing on public realm upgrades and complementary place-making activations near these sites.

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