Kenneth Wagner.
Kenneth Wagner. Elouise Quinlivan

Gladstone Hotel's makeover to transform CBD skyline

WORKS transforming the Gladstone Hotel into a modern accommodation, dining and retail destination are set to start this year.

Businessman Kenneth Wagner anticipates lodging plans with the Toowoomba Regional Council in coming weeks which will see "The Glad" revived into a four-and-a-half star, 100-room short-stay hotel.

"The Gladstone as a whole needed a shake-up," he said.

"The reality is that it's not performing - it's old, it needs a revamp."

It is the latest acquisition for the young entrepreneur, riding on the success of the breakthrough The Office development on Duggan St.

Together with business partner Michael Hay, that two-storey space was transformed into a modern destination and was later sold to Worldwide Hospitality Group.

The upstyled dining and lounge bar introduced new styles now being duplicated in other development plans including The Bank and Mill Precinct, and the city's thriving café dining scene.

Mr Wagner said the Gladstone Hotel's construction would ideally start mid-year with planning applications to be lodged in the near future that would transform the 2500sq m block which included Phat Burgers.

"The Gladstone Hotel in the centre of town is a very important site," he said.

"It has the potential to change the whole cityscape.

"The Phat Burgers site forms part of the Gladstone Hotel development (and) it is intended that it gets demolished and forms part of our hotel development."

It will be renamed on its re-opening in late-2018.

Mr Wagner shot down speculation the Ruthven St venue would host a casino as conjecture builds that Toowoomba is in the running to secure one of the regional gaming licences offered through the State Government.

"There is an opportunity likely to present itself to bid for a regional casino licence," he said.

"And that is something I think would be great for the economic development of this town.

"But it is in no way related to this development."

The Gladstone Hotel's redevelopment is one of more than five projects which is transforming the Toowoomba CBD, including the $500 million QIC Grand Central build, $10m restoration of the Burke and Wills Hotel and the the former Westpac building.



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