Coast's $900m planned beachside city could start in 2019
DETAILS have emerged of plans for a future beachside city at Yaroomba with more than 750 apartments and 100-plus dwellings proposed.
The vision became clearer after Japanese developer Sekisui House formally lodged its first development application for a $900 million resort and housing project at Yaroomba Beach.
Sekisui's senior development manager Evan Aldridge announced yesterday that two applications had been lodged with the Sunshine Coast Council.
The first is for Stage 1 of the development, which includes the seven-storey Westin Coolum Resort and Spa, a coastal village of shops and cafes, parkland, public amenities and 16 beachfront dwellings.
A preliminary approval has also been sought for the remainder of the site, encompassing future stages of residential development.
Mr Aldridge said only the proposed 220-room, five-star Westin resort and serviced apartments would be above the existing height limit of four storeys.
The remainder of the residential development on the site will be made up of 757 apartments up to a maximum height of four storeys and 102 residential dwellings up to three storeys in height.
Mr Aldridge said more than three hectares of the 19ha site would be dedicated as open, green space, which would make up part of more than five hectares to be gifted to the council but maintained by Sekisui House if the development was approved.
Sekisui previously sought amendments to the planning scheme to accommodate a maximum 10-storey development but that was rejected by the council on the back of strong community opposition.
Mr Aldridge said they'd tried to listen to the locals and also look at the council's vision for the Coast's future in developing the plans, which had not differed from those taken to the community for feedback late last year.
He thought the site "deserves better" than the existing approval allowed, adding the Coast "badly needs" an international, five-star resort.
He said the height was necessary to ensure the Westin resort was viable.
It was expected the planning process would take up the rest of 2017, as the application underwent the council planning procedure and community consultation.
Mr Aldridge said he expected Sekisui to be ready to begin construction in 2019 if approved.
Coolum Residents Association president Mark Bizzell says there is still plenty of fight in the community and they are looking forward to making their formal submissions on the Sekisui House plans.
Mr Bizzell feared the level of density that would be developed on the site and the impact on traffic it would have.
"We've got some very capable and qualified people on board who are actually retired in the area and they feel the same way we do," he said, eagerly awaiting a chance to have a say during the council's formal consultation period.
Sunshine Coast Division 6 Councillor and planning portfolio holder Christian Dickson said he was looking to meet with Sekisui House in the next week to discuss the application.
"I would expect a high degree of internal and external analysis by various experts to ensure any decision council officers recommend to council can serve the best interests of the Sunshine Coast region," he said, noting the proposal had changed from previously.
"From a portfolio perspective I have already made it clear to Sekisui House that such a proposal would require a strong level of support from the Sunshine Coast region in order to meet the public benefit test."
Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich said the project reflected the council's "vision for the Coast's economy and tourism industry and will deliver the first five-star hotel for the region in almost 30 years".
She noted the significance of a $900 million investment in the current economic climate and urged the council to ensure the "best outcome" for the Coast when assessing the application.