THE old Gold Coast Hospital site could be split up into three separate lots as the state government finally puts the property on the market for redevelopment.
But Mayor Tom Tate has urged the state government not to cut its ties altogether with the property.
The massive 3.4ha site, bounded by Nerang, Queen and Little High streets, is being cleared of buildings and will be offered as a blank canvas to the potential purchaser who will have the opportunity to work on one of the biggest urban renewal projects on the Gold Coast.
Tate says he wants the “best and highest” use of the site and one way of achieving that is by guaranteeing a blue-chip tenant for the redeveloped property.
He has called on the state government to make good on its 30-year plan to decentralise administrative operations into regional Queensland by relocating one of its major departments to the city.
“Given we are the small business and tourism capital of Australia, and given we are hosting the Commonwealth Games, the government could relocate Jann Stuckey’s department to the Gold Coast,” Tate says.
“Such a move to Australia’s largest regional city would align with the Queensland Government’s stated plan to decentralise government departments into regional centres across the state.”
Stuckey is Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business, Tourism and the Commonwealth Games with her portfolios supporting 121 staff.
While she did not comment on Tate’s proposal, a Queensland Government spokesman says “there is a fine balance to be struck as to how and when” the government relocates departments with a view to boosting the state’s regional population.
“The Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games serves the public all around the state,” the spokesman says.
Rosenlund Contractors has already begun demolition work on the hospital site which is expected to be totally flattened by mid-2015.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the sale offers the chance to inject new life into central Southport through the creation of a “vibrant new precinct”.
“Our government is determined to make the best use of state land, whether it be offering land to community groups for charitable purposes or to private parties with the financial capacity to revitalise sites,” he says.
“We also pledged to deliver better planning and last year, in conjunction with council, we declared central Southport a Priority Development Area to streamline the approvals processes and fast-track development.
“I anticipate this opportunity will attract strong competition from the private sector and generate new construction jobs for the Gold Coast.
“I look forward to seeing this property jewel transformed into an exciting hub for the Southport community.”
Kevin Carmody and Robert Dunne, of Savills, have been appointed to sell the site through an expressions of interest campaign that closes on November 7.
Carmody expects interest from both domestic and offshore developers who will target a range of uses including residential, aged-care, retail, education, medical and commercial, or a combination of these.
“This is a blank canvas that provides a real opportunity to develop something of significance,” he says.
Carmody says it is too early to tell what interest the property will generate, but he is confident it will be strong because the ground floor area the site can achieve will offer developers critical mass to proceed with confidence.
“What we’ve experienced in the past year or so is an increased appetite for local and offshore developers,” says Carmody.
“This precinct allows for unrestricted height limits and fast-track approval without objections.”
The site, located adjacent to a light rail station, may be split into three separate lots to be accessed by a new road through the middle.
Member for Southport Rob Molhoek says the plan to split the site is aimed at delivering the “best possible options to market”.
“It is being offered for sale as one parcel or any combination of its three subdivided lots,” he says.
“The Priority Development Area plan supports a mix of uses, unlimited height and provides flexibility and innovation to private parties wanting to invest in this iconic piece of property.”
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