Mayor Mark Jamieson and Cr John Connolly address a press conference in July, 2018, after the original Abacus Group deal for the Brisbane Road car park redevelopment failed. The resignation of Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker last week stalled plans for finalisation of a multi-million deal for what would replace it.
Mayor Mark Jamieson and Cr John Connolly address a press conference in July, 2018, after the original Abacus Group deal for the Brisbane Road car park redevelopment failed. The resignation of Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker last week stalled plans for finalisation of a multi-million deal for what would replace it.

CEO resignation stalls major decision on hotel deal

The resignation of former Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker stalled a multi-million development deal due to come before councillors for ratification.

A deal for the hotel development of the southern half of the Brisbane Road carpark site was meant to be a late agenda item to be considered at the general meeting on February 20.

That was the last day a decision could be made by the current council before it entered caretaker mode ahead of the March 28 local government elections.

Division 4 councillor John Connolly and councillors Greg Rogerson (Div 10) and Ted Hungerford (Div 7) have all confirmed the expectation that the matter would be considered last week.

The prized piece of Mooloolaba originally resumed from early residents for carparking has long been the subject of contentious development bids. Sunshine Coast Council has started construction of a 700-space car park on the unshaded portion. A deal for a hotel to be built on the shaded portion has been stalled by the resignation of former CEO Michael Whittaker.
The prized piece of Mooloolaba originally resumed from early residents for carparking has long been the subject of contentious development bids. Sunshine Coast Council has started construction of a 700-space car park on the unshaded portion. A deal for a hotel to be built on the shaded portion has been stalled by the resignation of former CEO Michael Whittaker.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said the council was "continuing to negotiate with one of the respondents to the tender for the southern parcel of the Brisbane Road car park site (fronting Brisbane Road and First Avenue)".

"The outcome of this process will be considered by council following the conclusion of the local government caretaker period."

Cr Connolly said he was very confident that when the new council resumed from the caretaker mode it would move forward strongly to finalise the deal.

He said the acting CEO Warren Bunker, who has replaced Mr Whittaker, had not have time to properly consider the deal given the circumstances.

Cr Connolly said there has been a number of parties interested in the opportunity that was conditioned by the council's desire to see hotel accommodation.

Cr Rogerson he didn't know the matter would not go ahead until told at the meeting.

"Why, I'm still not sure," he said.

Cr Hungerford said he hoped the new council would re-look at a number of matters pursued by the current council.

"I don't know who the preferred tender was, why they were preferred and who had tendered," he said.

The council spokesman said it had secured a current valuation for the southern parcel of the site fronting Brisbane Road and First Avenue which it intended to release once the negotiations with the preferred tender were concluded.

The council released on January 19 last year a valuation of $16.25 million for the whole Brisbane Road carpark site.

The council paid $900,000 to Abacus, the previously preferred applicant for redevelopment of the entire site, for what it described as an estimated $2.5 million of third-party work associated with obtaining the original development approval.

The spokesman said the payment secured the full development approval and the IP attached to that approval, the design and architectural drawings and all other materials developed for that project.

Those, the council has claimed, then contributed to the more efficient design and development plans for the site.



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