STORY, Townsville Bulletin (10th August 2020)

CONSTRUCTION on a residential development in the heart of Mount Louisa has started in a bid to support jobs and help Townsville surge ahead following the COVID-19 impacts.
Summerset Estate, an infill development off Banfield Drive set in an established neighbourhood, is the latest in Mendi Group’s property portfolio and will offer 95 residential lots.
Originally destined to be used for schooling, the site was bought from the state government in 2012.
Mendi Group managing director Jeff Doyle said now was the perfect time to get moving on the project with residential development considered to be the “best use” for the parcel of land.
Mr Doyle said providing employment opportunities and generating activity offered flow-on effects for local businesses.
“I’ve had this approval for a while and we chose to do it now because it fits with our availability of construction crew, but it also fits with the need to employ people,” he said.
“We’re trying to generate jobs in Townsville given the current COVID situation.
“We’ll employ 20 people here throughout the construction, for the rest of the year. It will also keep another 25 to 30 people external to the site (in jobs) such as consultants, town planners and engineers.
“We’ve got a unique parcel of land because it is an infill. We can’t be compared to other developments, so we’ve had a lot of interest since our boardings have gone up.”
The project will inject more than $40 million into the community and increase the value of the area.
It is designed to complement existing housing, offering lot sizes between 390sq m and 865sq m close to existing amenities such as businesses, schools, parks, and major road infrastructure.
Mr Doyle said it was important to be agile and adapt to changing circumstances, and to drive activity.
“We understand that COVID’s had a big impact on certain industries, but not so much the construction industry, so we consider ourselves lucky,” he said. “We have also grabbed people from the hospitality industry, and we have got some of them working in our business now.” The first stage of the development is scheduled for release in October with construction to be completed by the end of 2021.

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