Councillors to mull over landmark hotel developments for Cairns CBD

Councillors to mull over landmark hotel developments for Cairns CBD

TWO significant CBD hotel developments are expected to be waved through by Cairns Regional Council today.

A report into an application for the demolition of the Bellview Motel and construction of a new 15-storey tower in its place will be tabled at the ordinary council meeting this morning.

The motel, which is owned by the Meiklejohn family’s Merecliffe Pty Ltd, sits on 1886sq m on the Esplanade strip between Aplin and Shields streets and includes street access to Abbott St.

It is one of two big projects in councillors’ hands today.

GA Group Australia’s application for a $100 million hotel and apartment complex on vacant land on the crossroad of Abbott, Aplin and Lake streets will also be tabled.

The two projects, which are within one block of each other, have been earmarked as significant hotel developments for the city.

A ground level street-view of GA Group's proposed development for 163 Abbott Street.

The new 43.98m building at the Bellview’s site will include 161 hotel rooms of 108 twin and 53 single rooms and 19 on-site parking spaces.

Two months ago Craig Meiklejohn announced the family would sell the property for $6 million to $8 million.

The Cairns Post understands the family is in discussions with GA Group, which is owned by Syrian billionaire Ghasson Aboud. The existing building has 33 self-contained motel rooms, 13 budget motel rooms, five four-bedroom dorms and a retail shop.

The council report says the development application is recommended for approval, subject to “reasonable and relevant conditions”.

“The development proposal represents an appropriate and well-considered mixed-use project that substantially achieves the desired built form and tropical urbanism policy outcomes expressed within CairnsPlan,” the council report said.

Bellview Motel, which fronts the Esplanade and is going to be demolisehd to make way for a new hotel. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

The Bellview Motel was built in stages between 1963 and 1965.

Two weeks ago, the Post reported that GA Group Australia had formally lodged a development application for its $100 million project on ­Abbott St. This application is also recommended for approval.

The developer would require environmental permits and approvals from all levels of government because current plans showed the removal of trees on the block that are home to the spectacled flying foxes. The company hoped construction could begin early next year, with the project to be completed by early 2019.

The last hotel constructed in the city, according to Advance Cairns, was Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, which was opened in 1998.

The Meiklejohns and GA Group both declined to ­comment.


COMMUNITY Heritage Action Register Monitoring spokesman

Geoff Holland has expressed more concern about the spectacled flying fox population where the $100 million hotel will be built.

Flying foxes have roosted in trees surrounding the vacant block at the crossroads of Aplin, Abbott and Lake streets for more than a decade.

Developers have indicated they will remove all the trees.

Bat experts say the flying foxes are likely to take up residence in more problematic areas such as the Cairns Esplanade or the Munro Martin Parklands.

Mr Holland said the “sheer size” of the development will disrupt nearby roosts, as well as forcing the bats into other areas of town.


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Councillors to mull over landmark hotel developments for Cairns CBD
Councillors to mull over landmark hotel developments for Cairns CBD
Councillors to mull over landmark hotel developments for Cairns CBD
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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