Council offers discount if Stockland starts by March
STOCKLAND have 400 thousand reasons to start its long awaited $150 million Kin Kora expansion before March.
The company has struck a deal with the Gladstone Regional Council for reduced infrastructure charges to $2.09 million instead of $2.51 million.
But that was only valid if the company started works before December.
Now Stockland has been given an extension on the deal until March - signed off by the council this week at its regular meeting as a confidential item.
We asked Stockland if it was waiting for the Kin Kora intersection to be finished - it wasn't denied, but a spokesperson said the company was were "finalising the design".
However we understands preliminary planning for the extension is well advanced and the decision on when to move forward will be made at a board meeting this month.
The council originally wanted to charge Stockland $3.77 million in infrastructure charges.
But that was reduced after Stockland lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.
It was negotiated it down to $3.23 million.
Stockland argued the expansion wouldn't impact on parts of council infrastructure such as the council's road network or storm water drainage - because the company had built its own drainage system and the centre wouldn't necessarily attract more shoppers; rather they would just visit more stores.
In February this year the infrastructure charges dropped even further, down to $2.5 million by removing charges for stormwater and parks, to resolve the ongoing court action and "to encourage a start on the project," council CEO Stuart Randle said.
The council's infrastructure charges are standard for a commercial developer and worked out based on floor area and the impact on the council's own infrastructure such as sewerage and water.
The biggest single cost in the original infrastructure charge of $3.77 million was $1.54 million for transport.
The centre expansion was approved by the council in October 2013 and in April 2014 Stockland announced they would start construction the following October.
But more than a year later we are yet to see building preparations at the site.
The project is expected to create 660 construction jobs and add 400 long term employment opportunities in the centre's 160 specialty stores.
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