3D images of the 36-storey
3D images of the 36-storey "Rockhampton Tower" to be built on the site of The Plaza Hotel on George St. Contributed

Businessman dreams of 38-storey building on busy main strip

THE grass and gardens out the front may be overgrown and the pool lies stagnant and empty but despite all of this and the run-down appearance, there are exciting plans for the site of the Rockhampton Plaza Hotel.

The hotel has been closed for some time and has been described as a bit of an "eyesore" but the owners are in big talks with developers.

In the meantime, the lease is up for grabs for new managers to take it on and re-open to the public.

The premises sold in 1996 to Rockhampton-based Chang Holdings Pty Ltd for $3million.

Rockhampton Plaza Hotel's James Chang.
Rockhampton Plaza Hotel's James Chang. Allan Reinikka ROK180219aplaza7

Shareholder and director James Chang, spoke to The Morning Bulletin about their plans.

He explained they had been in talks with a Chinese developer who was interested in building a "super high rise" at the site, similar to buildings in China where there is a whole village in one.

Mr Chang said the $1.6billion, 38 story high-rise would include apartment hotels, a school, gymnasium, hotel management college, a five level (4,000sqm each) shopping centre, a 1600sqm rooftop restaurant and entertainment venues.

 

Inside rooms on the fourth level,
Inside rooms on the fourth level, Allan Reinikka ROK180219aplaza4

He said it would attract new immigrants as the format was similar to what they have in China.

"It's very convenient to them to go shopping, go to work in one place.... don't have to drive to work and they send their kids to school in the same building," Mr Chang said.

The Changs are still in talks with developers however due to the past legal issues with lessees, there have been some hold-ups.

 

In February 2014, The Morning Bulletin reported the hotel was closed with "no vacancy" signs on the doors and silver chairs bobbing in the pool.

In April 2014, Chang Holdings Pty Ltd announced the Rockhampton Plaza Hotel International was temporarily closed so it could undergo a serious refurbishment program with plans to reopen around mid September to early October 2014.

In 1993 the hotel sold for $1.9million and for $1.5million in 1988.

In June 2017, the land was valued at $1.3million and in August 2017, the property was listed for lease for $1million per annum.

In 2012 hotel lessees Jim and Linda Bentley found themselves in a race against time to install new air-conditioning units to save a $250,000 contract with the Singapore Air Force.

Mr and Mrs Bentley appeared in the Brisbane Supreme Court as applicants requesting a resolution to a dispute they had with Chang Holdings, the property owners, over an alleged $157,073 in upgrades to replace the hotel's run-down air-conditioning system in 2008.

The last review for the 3.5 star motel was in November 2015 where it was reported to be "very run-down with a misery owner".

 

Only three years earlier excellent reviews had described "the definition of perfect customer service".

Century 21 Solutions real estate principal Alan Spackman is handling the lease and said

despite some misconceptions it is "still a quality premise with an absolutely fantastic location".

"The rooms are all well soundproofed with glass... it's very quiet even though it's on the highway," he said.

"The owners have been working towards making it presentable."

He acknowledged the business not operating for the past few years presented some challenges for new business owners to take it on.

He said the owners were aware of this and were willing to negotiate.

The lack of data for previous trade also makes it a hard sell.

"We've had one or two enquiries already... it's a major decision for someone to take on... it's not something people can do lightly," Mr Spackman said.

"It's unknown how long it will take... we just have to wait and see what happens.

"It could be someone local but more than likely someone who has major hotel experience and knowledge, who can see the potential this place offers."

 

The Fountain View Restaurant overlooks the pool which is now empty.
The Fountain View Restaurant overlooks the pool which is now empty. Contributed

The Fountain Restaurant is not included in the lease and would be leased as a separate entity.

Rockhampton Region mayor, Margaret Strelow said she had a conversation with Mr Chang about two years ago and was not aware of any current conversations. other than those regarding refits to the existing building.

 

ROCKHAMPTON PLAZA HOTEL

Lease for sale

161 George St, Allenstown

66 Rooms, grand floor with six floors

Soundproof rooms

Highway position, walk to city centre

Restaurants and takeaways nearby

Swimming pool

Owner keen to engage new lease

Contact Alan Spackman on 0427 493 319



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