New $3M retail life for Cooroy’s old Energex site approved
Cooroy's eastern CBD redevelopment has taken an important step forward with council approving a new two-building retail centre on Diamond St worth more than $3 million.
This convenience store/office/residential development across three blocks lodged by Gympie accountant Cos Schuh, is linked to successful local businessman Peter Zipf of the Cooroy IGA.
Mr Schuh was delighted with the approval and said it was hoped construction would start there within 12 months.
"We were pleased to the councillor's approach to it, the co-operation of the council on this has been excellent," he said.
"I would think we'd be looking and the minimum investment in the building of $3 million.
"Mixed development is not all that easy to pull together, but we think that's worked well for that space - hopefully it fits with what Cooroy's all about because it's just a nice place to live," Mr Schuh said.
This new complex will be built at the former Energex depot site.
Councillor Brian Stockwell said the project would contribute to a character refresh of that side of town.
"This is a development that now reflects what we want in the new plan in that it brings both small scale retail and residential close to school, close to public transport, close to shops," he said.
"What we have here will be an asset to Cooroy for probably 50 years, 70 years into the future.
"I think this will still be a great improvement and an asset to the town," Cr Stockwell said.
Cr Amelia Lorentson said the project maintains what is important to Cooroy - "its character, heritage and country feel".
Cooroy Area Residents Association president Rod Ritchie said his group was in favour of this makeover.
He said having a convenience store on the eastern side will take pressure off the busy inner town intersections while the residences fitted in with council's aims of a retail-residential mix which encouraged more affordable housing.
"We think it's great, a lot of the infill is going on this eastern side," Mr Ritchie said.
However the retail hub will have to stay within the planning scheme building height of 8m after Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie used his casting vote to deny a slightly higher build.
This was after Mayor Clare Stewart declared a conflict of interest and took no part in discussions because Mr Zipf had donated to her election campaign.
Cr Stockwell had proposed an 8.35m height relaxation to allow for a pitched roof more in keeping with Cooroy's character and was supported by Cr Lorentson and Cr Joe Jurisevic.
The final decision to approve the development was unanimous.