Wagner reveals plans for Gladstone Hotel site
UPDATE: TWO pubs are now under the ownership of businessman Kenneth Wagner, after he secured the freehold title to The Gladstone Hotel.
Mr Wagner opened his first venue The Office in January that he co-owns and is looking forward to running the second for the Toowoomba CBD.
He said he had his eye on the venue since it was first announced that previous owner Dennis Kelly was putting the site up for auction.
Mr Wagner said the prime CBD site would be developed to make the most of the Kwong Sang Walk beside the venue which he said was underutilised.
"We see an opportunity to develop not only the pub itself but the site into a greater precinct, whether that's residential or professional offices or a retail precinct we're not sure yet," he said.
"Council has done a great job with developing the Kwong Sang Walk and we see a huge opportunity to be able to open the site up."
Mr Wagner said he planned a smooth transition between ownership of The Gladstone Hotel to keep the doors open.
"We'll change a few things but it will still be the Gladstone Hotel as people know it," he said.
The future development plans for the site would be between 18 months and two years into the future.
EARLIER: Kenneth Wagner, co-owner of The Office, told The Chronicle he would be taking over the Gladstone Hotel.
He said he would be handing over the paperwork on the site in the next hour to take ownership.
"The driving force for it is there is a lot development potential on the site," he said.
"Council has spent quite a bit of money on the lot next door Kwong Sang Walk and it's not getting utilised to its fullest potential."
He said he planned to continue to operate a pub on the site, but would look to change the layout.
"The current layout is not ideal."
EARLIER: The sale of the Gladstone Hotel is still under negotiation but could be sold by close of business today, further building the pub empire of a Toowoomba hotelier.
The pub was put to auction on May 6 but was passed in at $2.3 million.
Property broker Cameron McPhie has been working with a number of businessmen interested in the pub since the auction.
Co-owner of The Office Kenneth Wagner is the front-runner for the sale and could become the new owner.
He has until 5pm to sign off and deliver the contract.
If he goes ahead with the buy, it would secure him prime development land in the Toowoomba CBD or a second pub.
His first, The Office, opened in January.
If Mr Wagner decides at the final hour not to go ahead with the buy at $2.35 million, the sale passes onto the next highest bidder.
Mr McPhie said that was the general manager of Hilton Hotels Brett Christ.