Major City development gets preliminary approval

Date published: 20 December 2017

Townsville City Council Chief Executive Officer Adele Young has today provided preliminary approval to vary the Town Plan to allow for The Hive mixed-use development.

The Hive development, along The Strand between King St and Wickham St, potentially includes a hotel, residential apartments, commercial office space and an education centre.

The preliminary approval requires planning formula to be followed (895 spaces) for car parking, with a reduction of 45 spaces possible depending on final uses and two mixed use/residential towers with a maximum height of 16 storeys and 14 storeys respectively. This is down from the proponent’s request for 20 storeys.

The preliminary approval requires the construction of office space to be done in stages to ensure the sustainability of the CBD commercial real estate market.

The Hive would require further development approvals before the project could commence.

Ms Young said the preliminary approval struck an appropriate balance between encouraging major developments and ensuring the development was consistent with the Townsville 2020 masterplan.

“This preliminary approval ensures the Hive will be a sustainable development and revitalise that area of the city and The Strand,” she said.

“This shows how important it is to take into account the broader surroundings of any development and why Council has launched its Townsville 2020 masterplan to ensure projects are consistent with the vision for our city.”

City Placemaker/Masterplaner and Pure Projects director David Williams said the preliminary approval achieved good planning outcomes for the city and the community.

“This shows Council is committed to its Townsville2020 vision and ensuring that developments are appropriate and sustainable,” he said.

Planning and Community Engagement director Eber Butron said the preliminary approval provided The Hive’s proponents certainty on how to progress the development.

“Council approves sustainable developments in appropriate areas and the preliminary approval for The Hive gets the balance right,” he said.

The Hive proposal also includes the refurbishment of the heritage-listed Queens Hotel and the retention of Lilac Court.

The Queens Hotel was considered to be one of the finest hotels in North Queensland during the early 20th Century and Lilac Court is the first example of a multi-unit development in Townsville.

Mr Butron said The Hive development included protecting and restoring key heritage buildings on the site.

“Importantly, this proposal will restore a number of heritage buildings and revitalise that area of the city,” he said.

The demolition of The Criterion Hotel has been approved but cannot proceed until all permits and planning approvals have been granted. Conditions have also been included to preserve any historical artefacts found on the site by mandating an archaeological survey.

The preliminary approval also includes a clause ensuring the developer provides a $1 million security bond over the project.

Mr Butron said a heritage report considered by Council found the building was not worthy of retention – and the building is not listed on the State Heritage Register.

The decision on The Hive was referred to the Council’s Chief Executive Officer following Mayor Jenny Hill and Councillors declaring a potential conflict of interest after companies associated with the developer donated to the Team Hill campaign.

The proponent estimates the project would create 1,800 jobs during construction over a 10-year period, and after completion 690 full time positions would be created along with some 800 casual positions.