INTERACTIVE MAP: Toowoomba's $11b development boom
DEVELOPMENT in the Toowoomba region is forging ahead faster than anywhere else in the country with a total spend of more than $11 billion.
The Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise's latest Development Status Report has collated the region's developments under way (with a construction cost of $2 million and over), in planning and completed within the last 12 months.
"This research shows a total development spend within the region of in excess of $11 billion," TSBE chief executive officer Shane Charles said.
"These numbers are a great reminder of exactly how much activity is happening in our region and what that means for the community.
"We have an unemployment rate far lower than Queensland's average and major opportunities set to come our way.
"This is an exciting time to be Toowoomba and we will only see more growth in the coming years."
THE list of major developments currently under way has reached a staggering $3.5 billion, most of which fall under the "infrastructure and services" and "mining" categories.
Topping the tally-board was the $1.7 billion expansion of the New Acland coal mine, expected to be completed in 2017.
The ongoing flood restoration of the region's transport network is expected to have cost $1.055 billion by its finish in June next year.
TSBE put the burgeoning Wellcamp Airport and business park's total cost at $300 million by this October.
Much more investment in the airport will be forthcoming once it enters its next stages of construction.
The property and construction industries boasted more than $184 million of work already underway.
Ready to roll
MORE than $2.1 billion of projects have all necessary council approvals in place and are simply waiting for their developers to pick up tools.
FK Gardner and Sons' long-running plan to build an 11-storey, 48-unit high-rise at the corner of Cohoe and Herries Sts is still on the cards.
The company renewed its development application to council earlier this month in order to avoid the lapse of its existing approvals.
An FKG spokesman said the Eastpointe Apartments development would happen but not in the immediate future.
Also making the "ready to go" list were the QIC redevelopment of Gardentown and Grand Central shopping centres ($350 million), Toowoomba bypass ($1.66 billion) and the expansion of Brownseholme Retirement Village in Highfields ($15.5 million).
The Eastside Village fast food precinct on Cohoe St also made the list, following a failed appeal against approval in the Planning and Environment Court.
TSBE estimated the cost of the development at $9 million.
THE list of serious development proposals is where most of the money lies, topping $5.9 billion of projects.
One of the least-known schemes is to build one of Australia's largest solar farms 35km west of Millmerran on the Gore Hwy.
The developer of the proposed Bulli Creek Solar Farm has stated the farm could be generating electricity by 2016.
The application to Toowoomba Regional Council states the project would require the "staggered delivery of up to approximately 39,285 shipping containers of equipment throughout an approximate 24 to 36 month construction period".
Also making the list were the $160 million Interlink SQ freight terminal on the cards for Charlton and the $4.7 billion Melbourne-to-Brisbane inland rail project.
Signed, sealed, delivered
TOOWOOMBA developers have completed almost $106 million worth of major projects (over $2 million) in the last 12 months.
The $25 million Northpoint Shopping Centre complex was the biggest single contributor to the construction industry to be completed in the past year.
Drayton Shopping Centre developer Chris Hughes also finished his $20 million project in January. He estimated the centre would reel in an annual retail expenditure of more than $125 million.
The redevelopment of the former Chronicle building on Ruthven St into a temporary City Library cost $4 million, while the refurbishment of Blue Care on Stenner St injected $6.5 million into the construction industry.
TSBE chief executive officer Shane Charles said the monumental development spend was a sign of things to come.
"No other regional city, nor capital city for that matter, will be able to boast the amount of infrastructure development occurring," he said.
"We will no doubt become the epicentre of infrastructure.
"I look forward to seeing some major growth in our region over the coming years."