Townsville Rail Yard Hits the Block


Brisbane-based developer Honeycombes Property Group has listed a 17-hectare site in Townsville’s inner city with price expectations expected to top $17 million.

Colliers International, in conjunction with CBRE, has been appointed by the property group to sell the railway site, known as South Yards.

Honeycombes acquired the site from freight operator Aurizon for an undisclosed sum in 2017 and initially sounded out plans for a mixed-use precinct.

The former railway workshop, which adjoins Townsville’s CBD, sits opposite the new $300 million Queensland Country Bank Stadium, which completed construction earlier this year—becoming the new home of the North Queensland Cowboys.

It also sits within close proximity to the proposed DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, Central Park and the Palmer Street entertainment precinct.

Colliers International agent Samuel Biggins said the development site, intended to be seen as a natural expansion of the CBD, represented a huge opportunity for a “forward-thinking” investor, developer or land banker.

The former rail yards in South Townsville are being put up for sale for redevelopment into a mixed use project.
▲ The site is the largest freehold site in the city area with significant holding income through its use for storage, industry and driver training.

“This major land holding is of the same size as Townville’s existing core CBD with an anticipated development standard already set with the grandeur of the new Stadium precinct opposite,” Biggins said.

“Notable comparisons can be drawn to renowned urban renewal projects such as Brisbane’s James Street and Southbank precincts; Lendlease’s Barangaroo project and Docklands in Melbourne.”

At the city's disused North Rail Yards plans are underway to transform the former industrial site into the Townsville Technology Precinct, focused on the emerging software development industry.

The $50 million project, a joint venture of Projects and Infrastructure Group and Conrad Gargett Architecture, will comprise 9,500sq m of contemporary office space.

The development will include 194 parking spaces and extensive landscaping, including a waterfront park and boardwalk connecting the site with the stadium precinct and the council’s proposed Waterfront Promenade.

▲ Projects and Infrastructure Group's proposal will redevelop the century-old railway workshops site into a new precinct focused on the emerging software development industry.
▲ Projects and Infrastructure Group's proposal will redevelop the century-old railway workshops site into a new precinct focused on the emerging software development industry.

Plans also include the conservation of the historic Westinghouse Brake Shop and Gate House buildings to be returned to the community as multipurpose community space.

Townsville-based software company Code Valley has signed on as the precinct's anchor tenant.

More development can be expected in Townsville after the federal government rolled out the 15-year Townsville City Deal in 2016.

The Townsville deal plans to supercharge the town into a vibrant capital city for north Queensland through the creation of jobs and increased infrastructure spending.

Local government is also seeking private sector partners for the $1.6 billion expansion of the Townsville Port, the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor and associated development areas, and the urban renewal of the waterfront and CBD.

A new entertainment and convention centre also remains on the commitment list of the City Deal.

To date, the federal government has contributed $100 million to the plan, while the Queensland government has kicked in $140 million.

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