Marine Park Authority to have new home in the HIVE
Above: Artists impression of the HIVE.
A major, long-awaited place-making project will finally become a reality after the proponents of The HIVE project and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority reached agreement for new head office accommodation.
The first stage of the $250 million project, which will reinvigorate the area where Flinders Street meets The Strand, will become the new home for the Marine Park Authority’s head office.
Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the agreement would allow the world-leading marine management agency to do its job even better.
“Not only does having the Authority located right across the road from Reef HQ make a lot of sense, the benefits for our city that will come from the development are massive,” Mr Thompson said.
“This agreement is the key to unlocking The HIVE, which could eventually include education, tourism facilities and apartments to name just a few.
“I can’t wait to see this ‘dead end’ of Townsville really come alive in the next couple of years.”
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chief Operating Officer Natalie Conner said the Authority was hoping to move into its new office in 2023.
“We’re delighted to be the flagship tenant in a purpose-built facility that is contemporary, close to our national education centre Reef HQ, and will meet high environmental standards,” she said.
“The location was chosen after we worked through a very thorough government-mandated process and independent panel that assesses value for money.”
Therese Smith is Managing Director of Gleeson Group, the proponent of The HIVE, and said this commitment would have a significant impact for the region.
“From the very beginning our approach was to focus on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as our primary client,” Ms Smith said.
“This announcement means we can work together with the Authority to create a unique, purpose-built home for them.”
Ms Smith said future stages may include a concert hall and convention centre, tertiary education, marine and tropical science research, tourism facilities, residential apartments, medical and allied health facilities, commercial office space (10,000m2 already approved), an indigenous art gallery, performance space, open spaces, and provide a link from the Strand to the CBD.
Townsville City Council granted preliminary approval in December 2017 to establish the HIVE, a mixed-use centre development that will be staged to ensure it achieves the best use of the iconic site.
The Authority offices moved to a temporary location in the Northtown complex in Flinders Street when its former location next to Reef HQ fell into disrepair. The aquarium is currently closed as repairs and renovations worth nearly $40 million are completed.