$2m shop project spearheads boom

MORE than two years after receiving preliminary approval from the former Kolan Shire Council, work could finally start on a $2 million, 8000sq m shopping complex at Gin Gin within the next 12 months.

And the shops plan looks to be just the start for the growing town, with two other developments in the pipeline and Bundaberg Regional Council’s streetscaping revamp about to start.

The shopping centre project was initially conceived by businessman Trevor Versace five years ago, but was dogged by council delays and a legal battle after objections by a rival developer.

Mr Versace said a resolution had now been reached with Gregg Lipp, the former owner of the now-redeveloped Gin Gin Foursquare store.

“They have agreed to our proposal that the complex will not have a supermarket for at least five years,” Mr Versace said.

“We will have between 10 and 14 smaller shops, and are researching what kind of tenants would be suitable.”

He will consider retail options including butchers, a delicatessen, takeaway and coffee shops, clothing and specialty items, as well as professional offices.

“We have planning approval in place, and anticipate starting work in 12 to 15 months time,” he said.

He said the building works would cost between $2 million and $3 million to develop the site at 26-30 Mulgrave Street.

The project will also boast about 100 car parks.

“The Gin Gin region is looking very promising, and we hope that this project will help stabilise the area’s economy,” Mr Versace said.

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said development proved the region’s economy was looking bright.

Other plans include a 192-bed backpacker hostel, also on Mulgrave Street, which was approved by the council in September, and a 36-home estate proposed for Forsyth Street.

““We hope it will also encourage jobs and other developers to the area,” Cr Pyefinch said.

Country Comfort Wild Scotsman Motor Inn owner Elizabeth Kopcheff welcomed the shopping centre.

“Soon people won’t have to drive to Bundaberg once a week — they will be able to get everything they need here,” Ms Kopcheff said.

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