Student accommodation in the Bundaberg CBD’s vacant Suncorp Arcade/SGIO building is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Bundaberg Regional Council recently received an application from Insite SJC on behalf of client DN Group Pty Ltd — a company operated by the SSS Dang family.
Situated on the corner of 142 Bourbong Street and 64 Woongarra Street, the application seeks to change the current vacant building into student accommodation with a car park at 64 Woongarra Street, food and drink amenities, shop and office.
The company's spokesman Shane Booth said the CBD provided the perfect opportunity for inner-city living for students from outside the region and overseas.
“The existing tower has been vacant and under utilised for a significant period and we feel the rejuvenation of the building and re-imagining of the space will return the building to having a key role within the CBD,” he said.
“Students would be seeking the dining and retail opportunities that are available in the CBD and we hope that once COVID restrictions begin lifting, this development will provide an economic boost for local retailers and cafes.
“We are very excited about this project.”
The company said potential benefits include future job growth and economic stimulus during construction and beyond.
“The economic benefits would certainly be regionally significant in terms of creating local jobs during construction, injecting spending into the economy during the operational phase and additionally the economic benefits of reactivating the CBD,” they said.
“It will also contribute to the strength of our regional tourism industry as international students and those from outside our region go home and tell the great stories of their experience in Bundaberg, which would contribute to tourists wanting to come see our great region for themselves.”
SSS Tower project plans
The development plans, recently submitted to Council, have been broken up into three main stages with Stage 1 focusing on the tower of the building.
These plans include six storeys of student accommodation, a multi-share communal and private open space and the refit of commercial tenancy space.
The second stage details a redesign of the existing car park to accommodate four levels of multi-use parking that would be available to the public, with the top floor servicing the Tower 1 student accommodation.
“We would expect construction to start by the end of the year, and we anticipate that early stages of the development would be completed towards the back end of 2021,” the company said.
Stage 3 of the development includes plans for an additional tower to be included at 142 Bourbong Street and would include a mix of student accommodation, communal recreational space including a cinema and ground level retail space.
This part of the project is long-term and is currently in the conceptual phase.
“While the project would need further detailed design, we expect the planning stage will begin within the next five years,” the company said.
Mr Booth said the SSS family firmly believed Bundaberg could become one of Australia’s most iconic areas.
“The Dang family and their siblings, through hard work and determination, have experienced success in the agricultural industry and have been a significant contributor to this sector in Bundaberg,” he said.
“They love the region and appreciate the opportunities that Bundaberg has provided their family.
“Over the last 10 years they have focused strongly on contributing to the three pillars of agriculture, economy and community and now they want to bring education into their focus.”
InsiteSJC is also locally owned and operated. Mr Booth said the proposed development was an exciting project they were eager to be working on with the local family.
“We as a local business are also proud to contribute to this project’s success,” he said.
“This development is a major accomplishment for the region and will likely benefit our CBD and the region’s growth well into the future.”
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