Gowings ready to progress extension on top of Coffs Central?

One of the longer anticipated Coffs CBD developments may be ‘back on track’ after a long break with plans recently submitted to Coffs Harbour City Council.

According to a report by Janine Watson, on 18 November in the Coffs Coast Advocate, Gowings Brothers Pty Ltd in 2017 asked approval for a mixed-use development including a 92-room hotel with pool and restaurant, two floors of commercial area with car parking and also retail areas above the existing Coffs Central building.

Coffs Central at night. Photo; BCU

But by January 2018 it appears a halt had been put on the extension.

Now, the Advocate reports, subdivision plans for the Coffs Central development have been developed for Gowings by Woodman Architects and, if approved, will pave the way for the long waited for CBD hotel.

The plans show the development will be close to 40 metres in height.

Previous estimates put the cost at at over $20m but costings did not accompany the new plans.

Gowings are moving their Head Office from Sydney to Coffs Central, have also sold many of their Sydney holdings, and are now focusing their business on Mid-North Coast NSW.

The proposal is not on the CHCC agenda for this Thursday’s penultimate 2020 Council meeting.


The cited 18-11-2020 story from the Coffs Coast Advocate can be found, behind a paywall, here; https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/call-in-the-cranes-could-plans-be-back-on-track/4142263/

10 thoughts on “Gowings ready to progress extension on top of Coffs Central?

  1. Great. Good on Gowling its a private decision using private money with private consequences and ought to be encouraged. Whereas the Gordon Street development is a unpopular public one using in effect our money and is a social crime and undemocratic.

    1. Totally agree George

      And. … with any luck the Minister for Planning (via his Senior Planner) will be as impressed with my “My Vision” concept master plan…. eventually leading to us selling off GORDON Street, to a developer who can similarly invest in putting an up to the new (July/Aug last yr) 45m height limit to put the high density residential into the CBD that is part of both CHCC’s and the State Govt’s various plans, strategies, etc.

      I sent “My Vision” direct to the Minister and his senior planner late August in an effort to show them that the CCS Project proposal for Gordon St is NOT the only way to meet all the objectives’ goals that have to be achieved by the Dept of Planning.

      In fact, not only is it not the only way if “My Vision” should continue to be enthusiastically supported by people who have read it and some or all of it comes to fruition then we can get all we need, want, PLUS a replacement Tourist Information Centre AND a replacement Town Hall (performance space, on the edge of the core part of the CBD, no less).

      Cheaply, little borrowed, grants obtained and many elements in place by mid or late next year!

      If you would like to read my “My Vision”, and then give your feedback to CHCC & Minister Stokes please email me on [email protected]

  2. A brilliant move. Another good reason to proceed with our new Cultural and civic project on Gordon Street. The future of Coffs Harbour is looking better all the time. More opportunities and jobs will bring wealth and prosperity to our great city.

    1. May I ask, Marie, how you believe you’ll benefit from the CCS building? I’m genuinely interested as you’re the first who seems to have a reasonable opinion for it. If you do have a moment, what would interest me is how you feel you’ll be better off because of it, what you’ll gain from it that you don’t already have, and how often you’ll feel you go there (after the first couple of inspections)?

      In relation to the Gowings building, I had a brief involvement with Gowings and found them great people to deal with. On first blush, this development looks good, and I think it will give the city centre a lift.

      On Council matters, because I’m unaware of it, it’ll be interesting also to see if Council is making especial alterations to height restrictions etc to progress this building, and what precedent that might set for others in a developer’s mind. The precedent element might be the one to look at closely. We’ll see.

      While Marie might not like this mention, there may be some value in it for those who oppose the CCS building: the Gowings development may perhaps provide a sort of consolation for those, including councillors and in admin, who want the CCS building to enrich and strengthen the city centre (for want of a more accurate term in Coffs) thereby giving them something to grasp onto once the CCS is defeated one or way others. I see some real positives in that regard, as those who do want the CCS won’t therefore be left with empty hands.

      Looking forward to more info on this development.

      1. Hi 40cms

        The height limits history goes like this:

        From whatever height the old/existing core CBD area was previously, of which some blocks around the fringes are still covered by, the CORE blocks of area bounded by the highway, Vernon St, Gordon St – or perhaps it’s actually Earl St on eastern side, and Park Ave had the limit put up to 28m.

        This was done quite some years ago, and to – I imagine -facilitate Gowings building to where things stand now.

        With them knowing that in future a further raising would happen….hence the reo sticking out of the top.

        Last July – Aug, while most people were paying attention to the Gordon St evolving situation
        (sheer coincidence, not arranged to deflect attention),
        an amendment to the LEP to make those CORE blocks allowed to be built to a height of 44m was processed. (44m can deal with a 12 storey building.)

        What also happened then was that three extra city blocks were added to those CORE blocks …. the three being those that house:
        1. C.ex,
        2. CHCC’s admin/chambers,
        3. Rigby House

        Hope this helps answer and inform

        1. Thank you, Gai, very much indeed.

          I recall when Park Beach Plaza was to be introduced there was serious concern by some who were qualified to say that splitting the town centre would do harm, effectively putting a town not big enough to handle it in competition with itself. It was, then, a three way split if Treasure Island was taken into account.

          Coffs has a real problem with how it’s grown. The “city centre” tried to recapture a ‘vibe’ or presence, a brand if you like, by focusing efforts on being the business centre of the city: how that makes those in PBP feel about what they’re doing wasn’t mentioned.

          Essentially, we have business and employment areas that amble forward as the city grows, with no clear overall vision for how the city will look and function. (Added to that is the ugly impression a visitor receives when entering the city on the highway from the south.) The CBD has been problematic for a long time now; I don’t know what the solution is. I do like that a move towards character-building through residency is taking root, finally, but where that ends needs more knowledgeable minds applied so it achieves its goal and isn’t an immediate bandaid and future problem.

          Thus, Coffs Harbour needs a complete wiping of the slate, in vision and planning terms, to set a better future forward. This, by any council’s means, is far and beyond enough to warrant and occupy a Coffs Harbour City Council.

          If it knew what it was doing, that’s precisely where it would be putting its attention and resources, rather than spending money on itself. Imagine all that talk and money on “consultants” being put where it is really needed. Presently, when Council says it has a plan, I hear only lip service to a tremulous vague idea.

          Forget the airport focus, forget the CCS focus, and get to proper business doing what a present-day Coffs Harbour City Council needs to do. It’s obvious, but not to the current outfit.

          We’ll have to be very careful and more knowledgeable in choosing the next Council.

  3. Can you explain how plagiarism Newscorp stories makes CoffsCoastOutlook an independent voice?

    Editors note: Good point, normally we try not to. However the story was published in amended form here because we believed it needed wider coverage than being behind a paywall after almost a week.

    By the way there’s a big difference between plagiarism, as you allege, and citing with additional reporting as was done in this instance. Speaking of plagiarism you are not far off it with the non-de-plume you have very unoriginally chosen. What’s that saying about people in glass houses again?

  4. $20 million to build a 92 room hotel vs $76 million for Council’s new offices. Must be nice to spend the public’s money.

  5. Hi,
    What is happening with the development of the old forestry building site which Gowings own? I did send an email to Gowings requesting information but didn’t receive a response.

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