APPROVED: SSS Tower one step closer to reality
THE proposed SSS Tower development has been given the green light according to the Bundaberg Regional Council's PD Online.
The decision to approve the application for a Material Change of Use for off-site student accommodation and car park was made today.
The site for this DN Group Developments Pty Ltd project is the region's iconic 'whale building' at the City Centre Arcade.
According to the proposal, prepared by InsiteSJC, the plan is to redevelop the existing seven storey mixed-use commercial and retail building, primarily for off-site student accommodation.
This would include 74 rooms including single bedrooms and studio apartments and as part of Stage 1.
The NewsMail previously reported that the ground floor would feature cafes for the public use.
The document states Stage 2 will include a redesign of the existing car park to accommodate four levels of multi-use parking, available to the public, with the top floor servicing the Tower 1 student accommodation.
"The public parking space would be provided on a user pays basis and the gated entry and exit would ensure the safety of vehicles using the site," the proposal states.
Stage 3 proposes a future tower.
"The third stage of the development would be for an additional tower to be included at 142 Bourbong St that would include a mix of student accommodation and retail space," the documents read.
"This stage of the application is only applied for as a preliminary approval as the overall design and use of the site may alter dependent on demand and market forces."
InsiteSJC principal town planner Shane Booth said the approval was for the three stages.
He said this approval was significant for the economic boost it would provide during construction and the injection to the economy post-development, as there would be a permanent occupant base driving economic activity in the CBD.
"We see the project as a keystone project in the redevelopment of the CBD and it would provide a revitalised and activated mixed-use environment for all users, particularly as the Arcade area and retail space will be fully renovated," he said.
"The redevelopment of the site is a significant milestone in the revitalisation and activation of the CBD and may even assist in bringing forward other aspects of BRC's planned rejuvenation of the CBD.
"The commercial aspect of the development has been vacant for a long period and the current development would replace this with a residential component.
"This type of use has been a missing piece in the activation of the CBD and is expected to inject life into the precinct."
Mr Booth said the development would have a clear and obvious nexus with CQUniversity and would also have a positive flow-on effect to the viability of the campus as the additional student base may lead to other courses being offered.
"A component of the accommodation would be offered to international students who no doubt would contribute to the tourism sector during their stay and would take home their stories and experiences in the Bundaberg region to share with their friends and family," he said.
"This would have another positive downstream effect on tourism.
"Also, the existing retailers and vendors in the CBD will benefit from the additional 80 plus students who would be seeking retail and dining in the precinct."
Mr Booth said the landowner would need to align other relevant approvals for building and engineering aspects of the development, but construction should begin this year and completion of Stage 1 should be circa end of 2021.
The 'whale building' was previously owned by John Santalucia and sold to the new owners, the family behind SSS Strawberries last year.