The 'mega tower' tipped to deliver Coast jobs
NINE years ago Tim Wright was standing on the runway of a Brisbane airport piling dozens of squares of carpet tiles into the back of his light plane.
The desperate bid to get the flooring to Hervey Bay in time for the launch of Ramada Resort came after a glitch with a supplier left them with bare concrete.
He touched down the night before and had the carpet in place just in time for the launch and as it happened, just before a record rain event which sent all those carpet tiles floating back out the door.
That tumultuous start set the tone for what would be a turbulent decade for Tim and the town.
Completed not long after the global financial crisis the team behind the extension of the complex endured repeated setbacks which peaked with the 15 units and vacant neighbouring land going into receivership in 2013.
Despite this, the Urangan resort managed to simultaneously forge a reputation for quality service, great deals for locals and a healthy base of repeat customers.
Now, with the right financial backing behind him, the eternal optimist has returned to Hervey Bay to launch the long-awaited Ramada Stage 2 - a mega-tower comprising of 16 luxury Sky Homes and 44 striking hotel rooms which will enjoy marina views.
Not only will the lofty penthouses bring a new level of luxury to Hervey Bay, they also signify the first vote of confidence in the region from a resort developer in nearly 10 years and it might just be enough to encourage like-minded investors.
Affinity has promised to use local trades, about 50 people during construction, and about 30-40 extra housekeeping, administration and restaurant staff once the hotel side is completed.
Speaking to the Chronicle Mr Wright said he was confident Hervey Bay was worth the investment.
"I think what we've learned about the market here is, you've got to understand what the demand factors are. It's a drive market from Brisbane in terms of tourism, not a high revenue, high volume market but you can get good occupancy if you keep your prices right.
"The other thing is, there are those who want to want to bring money to Hervey Bay, but you have to have the right product for them. "With our sky homes, there's only 16 so there is that element of exclusivity. "There will be people who come straight away, people who want to retire now and others who invest here now to live here later on." While advertising will flood markets in Brisbane, Melbourne and China, Mr Wright said the target buyer was "anyone who wants to live or stay in a luxury apartment in the best part of the world".
"We're not fussy, we'll take no prisoners."
Stage 2 is expected to begin in February.
Trades will be sourced later in the year and jobs will be advertised near completion.