Business

Developments at heart of Gladstone's transition

Shelly Whitehead, Sid Knell, Crystal Giles and Greg Whitehead at the newest Central Apartment Group development, Gladstone Central Plaza.
Shelly Whitehead, Sid Knell, Crystal Giles and Greg Whitehead at the newest Central Apartment Group development, Gladstone Central Plaza. Mara Pattison-Sowden

SID Knell began investing in Gladstone before the "boom" began, but his developments are part of what could encourage the next boom - tourism.

The three $70 million luxury 4.5-star apartment hotels are at the heart of Gladstone's central business district, with each offering different but complementary products.

A seven-year journey began with the development of Gladstone City Central and is continuing with the recent completion of Gladstone Central Plaza by the Prime Group.

Although the properties are worth big money, the man behind the three says the family-owned company is in town for the long haul as part of the community.

It already has roots in a fourth development on Goondoon St between William and Roseberry Sts, which will be called Gladstone Central International, but it won't begin development for another five years.

Investment property manager Mr Knell said while he was there to look after his investors, he also wanted to have premier accommodation on offer for residents, corporate stays and holidaymakers.

"The council's vision is to have an active CBD with restaurants, accommodation and retail, and we wanted to be part of that," he said.

"Corporates like to be close to the city, but some residents also want to be living in the city."

Mr Knell said Gladstone was moving from being a large regional centre to becoming a mid-range city.

"Gladstone city centre will start to really bubble soon," he said. "We'd like to see more energy in the accommodation sector."

An economics and management lecturer, Mr Knell also believed in being part of the town's major development groups.

Central Apartment Group has signed up to GAPDL and the Gladstone Engineering Alliance.

"From an academic point of view I like to be involved in economic think tanks and how to be involved and add something more to the town," he said, adding the group had already brought construction and long-term jobs.

"They've brought a lot of jobs during the building of them.

"A lot of the inputs are Australian-made; materials come from Australia and when built they create a lot of jobs."

Mr Knell said overall the staff numbers were more than 50 people.

"It's a labour-orientated business - there are a lot of mums and dads working here," he said.

"Certainly part of the vision is looking after the community."

About Central Apartment Group:

Gladstone City Central

  • First blocks of land bought in 2006
  • Opened in 2009
  • $35 million

Curtis Central Apartments

  • Developed by Ben Smith, managed by CAG
  • $30 million

Gladstone Central Plaza

  • Newest of the three, mostly holiday users
  • $14 million

Topics:  development, gladstone business



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