$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

PROPERTY developer Charlie Camilleri hopes to transform the farmland where he was born into a $40million shopping centre, retirement village and hotel.

Mr Camilleri says the project is likely to bring a $120million injection into Mackay's economy during construction and create 108 direct jobs.

The development application for the seven-storey hotel and retirement village was lodged last week with Mackay Regional Council, with Mr Camilleri hoping it starts as soon as possible, saying "let's get this show on the road".

THE PROJECT

Charlie Camilleri has lodged an application with Mackay Regional Council, seeking preliminary approval for a retirement village and hotel at a site next door to Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre, at 194-202 Malcomson St.

The retirement village would have 109 rooms, the hotel would have 114 and each would be seven storeys.

The two projects would sit alongside a shopping centre, which is also yet to be built but secured approval two years ago.

Mr Camilleri said even if he didn't have family ties to the site, he would still believe it was the perfect location for a major development.

"It's location, location, location," he said. "I've got a prime location, it's the last development site left of magnitude in North Mackay."

An aerial view of the development site.
An aerial view of the development site.

Dialogue surrounding the development had been ongoing with council for more than three years he said, after it changed the use of the land and knocked back his original proposal to build office blocks on the site.

He described the new proposal as "an olive branch" and believes it is likely to be approved as it is "exactly what council had wanted for the site".

"After three or four years of debate and dialogue, this is what we've come up with," Mr Camilleri said. "You've got to have growth. I believe this time we've got traction going forward."

Retirement Village:

  • 109 total rooms
  • A mixture of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units
  • Common areas, library, gym, cafe, storage and admin spaces
  • 7-storey building plus basement car park
  • Appropriate parking and drop-off areas
Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.
Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

The hotel:

  • 114 hotel rooms
  • Ground floor hotel services including restaurant, gym, day spa and recreation
  • facilities
  • 7-storey building
  • Appropriate parking and drop-off areas

WHO IS CHARLIE CAMILLERI

Charlie Camilleri has a $40m development planned next to Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre.
Charlie Camilleri has a $40m development planned next to Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre. Inge Hansen

A lifetime spent helping things "rise up out of the ground" has Charlie Camilleri set to embark on a project that's sure to trigger a degree of nostalgia for the well-known property developer.

Mr Camilleri is hoping to transform the farmland where he was born, and his family worked for decades, into a $40m shopping centre, retirement village and hotel.

It's likely to fuel a $120m injection into Mackay's economy during construction and create 108 direct jobs.

"I've got my heart behind it. I sold (the property) in a moment of weakness, and five years later I bought it back," he said.

"I'm willing to sell other properties to make a go of it. I've really got my heart set on it."

WHAT THE COUNCIL THINKS

Mackay Regional Council director of development services Gerard Carlyon said council was "very excited" by the proposal, and since Mr Camilleri had decided to build a retirement village it was considering some "serious incentives" to ensure the project went ahead.

"We're very keen for the project to go ahead. We're going to seriously consider some serious incentives (to help that happen)," he said.

He explained the idea to build office blocks hadn't been popular with the council as it wanted to keep office workers within the CBD, to prop up boutique retailers and restaurants.

Major retailers and retirement villages, on the other hand, were ideal for Mount Pleasant. Mr Carlyon said council had noted a potential for real growth in retirement villages in Mackay, as many older people had been priced out of the market during the mining boom.

That had led council to provide a range of specific incentives for all retirement village projects, where major savings were made through reduced infrastructure charges.

However, he pointed out any concessions offered to Mr Camilleri's project would first have to be considered by council.

Although older residents raised concerns that the fall in property prices may leave some retirees unable to afford to move, Mr Carlyon said a retirement village could also be built more cheaply now, and savings may also be passed on to buyers.

Mr Camilleri certainly believes in the demand, and plans to sell 25-30% of the units before the retirement village is built.

Plans for Charlie Camilleri's new development.
Plans for Charlie Camilleri's new development.

He also plans to market the apartments to those in Sydney and Melbourne, who could sell expensive city apartments, move to Mackay for the lifestyle and weather, and save money through buying the cheaper real estate.

Although he wouldn't put a timeframe on how long the project would take to get off the ground, as it worked its way through the approvals process, he believes the minute it comes out of council he would start selling rooms at the retirement village.

And he hopes it is sooner rather than later.

"Let's get this show on the road," he said. "Mackay's got to go to the next level."



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