IN LIMBO: When is Gladstone getting its $150M Stockland upgrade?
RATHER than 660 new jobs, over 100 new speciality stores and a direct flow of cash back into the economy; it seems all Gladstone residents got was one big, fat, empty promise.
Its been about five years since Stockland Gladstone submitted a development application to expand the store by 45,000sq m to the Gladstone Regional Council, and almost four years to the day it was approved.
So where is the three-staged development set to bring a full line Coles, Kmart and Target as well as two mini-majors, 10 cafe and food retailers, four restaurants and 101 specialty stores to our city?
Stockland had always reported it would not begin to build until the Kin Kora roundabout development was sorted, and now that it's fully functional, a number of residents are calling on both the council and Stockland for some answers.
And while Stockland has welcomed a steady flow of new businesses and franchises; including Burger Urge, Schnitz and a revamp of The Veranda, Gladstone is still waiting on the Rockhampton shopping experience it was promised.
Gladstone Region Acting Mayor Chris Trevor told The Observer that the ball was now in Stockland's court, and if the company wanted, could start construction tomorrow.
The Observer contacted the company yesterday and was told by Stockland Regional Development Manager, John White: "We will update the community on our development plans as soon as we can... Stockland continues to progress plans for its $150 million redevelopment of Stockland Gladstone."
Cr Trevor said all planning, civil and building permits were in place for the project to begin whenever, but ultimately the final investment decision would be up to Stockland.
As for the reason behind the development's stall, Cr Trevor said the current downturn "didn't help ... but wouldn't last forever".
"Stockland needs to push the green button," he said.
"We offered them a significant discount to fast track this project given the community benefits associated with the project . Our offer expired in 2016. Any discount now would need to be renegotiated and nothing is guaranteed in this regard."
He said it was "always disappointing" to see Gladstone residents shop anywhere other than locally.
"But it is what it is," he said.
"It's not for the want of trying to stop the leakage. We just have to keep our fingers and toes crossed that Stockland or somebody else will fire the starter's gun."