Entertainment centre cafe moves a small step closer
THE wheels are turning once again, albeit still a little slowly, with the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre moving a step closer to finalising a tenant for its cafe and outdoor dining precinct, after a win with liquor licensing earlier this week.
Running behind schedule with hopes to have the cafe operating before Easter, the process has been more drawn-out than expected, GECC manager of arts and culture Michael Bloyce admitted.
"Sometimes good things are worth waiting for... it's better to get it all right," Mr Bloyce said.
The GECC was boosted on Tuesday after being granted conditional approval from liquor licensing for a sub-licence.
This followed extended delays with the governing body, to enable the cafe more freedom in terms of its alcohol service requirements.
"We applied for a sub-licence for the cafe which gives him (proposed tenant) that extra scope," Mr Bloyce said.
Despite the small victory on the licensing front, the cafe is still a fair way off for Gladstone locals eagerly anticipating the new venue.
Mr Bloyce expected the lease to be finalised with the next week or two, after the tenant had viewed the formal liquor licensing approvals.
However, he pointed out that once that stage had been reached, there would still be some delay as the venue was fitted out.
He was hopeful of having an opening date of mid-July.
"I expect it to be about a two month fit-out, probably early-to-mid July for an operational cafe," Mr Bloyce said.
Councillor Ren Lanzon, in charge of arts and culture, said the plan for the cafe was to cater to more than just theatre-goers, with the goal to attract external customers and provide another option for wining and dining in the CBD.
Mindful of the fact the proposal had to be attractive for the potential tenants, Cr Lanzon said that had played a part in the three-year initial lease on offer.
Cr Lanzon said the prospective tenants in discussions at the moment were a perfect fit for the job at hand.
"We called for tenders and we were pretty explicit in what we wanted. This group were the favoured ones. We went through certain criteria and they fit the bill," he said.