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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
TOWNSVILLE'S old north railway yard is to be transformed into a $220 million residential, commercial and retail precinct, providing a $400 million economic boost to the CBD.
Transport Minister Paul Lucas announced the signing of a development deed between Queensland Rail and a consortium led by Townsville developer Honeycombes yesterday, signalling a go-ahead for the ambitious project.
"I am pleased to see the North Yard railway site redevelopment is closer to becoming a reality for the people of Townsville," Mr Lucas said.
"Subject to local council development approvals, construction on the 5.8ha site is scheduled to start by June next year."
Up to 520 units in buildings up to nine storeys and commercial space of 8250sq m is planned for the area stretching from the old Townsville railway station and rail administration centre to the heritage-listed railway workshop precinct near the new railway station on Flinders Street.
Commercial uses will include child care centre, office space and retail such as coffee shops and restaurants.
There would also be recreational activities such as gymnasium and day spa.
A paved plaza accessible to vehicles is planned for a continuation of Fletcher Street from Flinders Street through to Ross Creek and a boardwalk and cycleway is to run the length of Ross Creek up to the new railway station.
A disused rail bridge is to provide a footbridge over Ross Creek.
The plan represents a significant up-scaling to the $145 million plans announced in April when a heads of agreement was signed. Townsville developer Peter Honeycombe said the master planned development staged over five to seven years would add a huge boost to the transformation of the inner-city.
Studies by the AEC Group had predicted a $400 million economic impact, while Townsville City Council's rate base would be boosted by $1.3 million.
"There will be something like 1200 residents living there and another 300 people working there," Mr Honeycombe said.
"That will help assist in the revitalisation of the city."
He said densities had been increased from initial plans to help meet the council's wish for more open space.
However, densities were still less than for Honeycombes' projects Waterview Terraces and Urban Quarter, he said.
Two and three-level residential areas were planned along the creek-front and eight to nine-level building fronting Flinders Street.
"It's really trying to extend the live, work and play (lifestyle) of the CBD," he said.
The Government refused to release sale price details, although the arrangements include a minimum return and a share of any higher returns. A spokesman said offers for the maintenance reserve on the southern side of Ross Creek had not met financial expectations but that they would continue to seek further offers.
Mr Honeycombe said significant additional testing and analysis for contamination had been conducted involving the Environment Protection Agency.
"All stakeholders are comfortable we have an environmentally balanced and financially viable strategy to remediate sites," he said.
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