Inner-city asset a winner: Developers make plans for South Yards site

Published on: 01/12/2021

Two of Australia’s top hospitality operators, Chris Morris and Errol Stewart, have teamed up to buy Townsville’s strategic South Yards holdings in the CBD.

While the site is leased to steel fabrication company Wulguru Group until 2027, the sale opens an exciting opportunity to transform Townsville’s inner city.

The site, opposite the new $300m stadium, has been eyed previously for a water theme park.

Property agencies Colliers Townsville and Burgess Rawson sold the 17.21ha parcel for $18.15m, showing a yield of just 4.98 per cent.

The developers will work now with the council and community on plans for the holding.

“We look forward to working with the Townsville community and further expand on the city’s tourism and hospitality facilities,” said Chris Morris, head of the Morris Group.

His group owns and operates hotels and breweries in Australia and the United Kingdom and has started construction on a five-star hotel adjoining their The Ville Resort-Casino in the Breakwater precinct.

Errol Stewart is a Launceston developer well known for tourism experiences the Silos, the Seaport and York Cove Holiday Hotel and has proposed a landmark cultural centre for Launceston.

Colliers Associate Director Neville Smith said that recognising the significance of the opportunity they conducted an Australia-wide marketing campaign.

“We received strong inquiry from all over the country with nine offers submitted,” Mr Smith said.

“In a market starved of investment availability, this asset certainly ticked all the boxes with secure income and major development upside.”

The property derives annual income of almost $1m.

Burgess Rawson Joint Head of Agency Queensland Andrew Havig said South Yards was an important site for Townsville.

“This is a significant land holding of 17 hectares on the CBD fringe which is unique in itself, let alone located directly opposite major infrastructure such as the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium,” Mr Havig said.

The site is earmarked as a catalytic community precinct.

Its current zoning allows for a mixed-use development including convenience shops and specialty retailing, small scale office uses, professional services and residential uses.

Colliers Townsville managing director Peter Wheeler said: “This is a reminder that Townsville is very much on the map. Investors can see that exciting things are happening in North Queensland and they have confidence in the future of our region.”

The South Yards are former inner-city railway workshops closed about five years ago.

Honeycombes had acquired the site in late 2017 with the intention of a masterplanned development but their current development interests in southeast Queensland led them to market the site to realise capital for injection into those projects.

Tony Raggatt, Townsville Bulletin


Stay up to date with our latest portfolio auctions & insights