The core of Cairns is about to undergo a major overhaul to welcome 70,000 residents and it could start with a new tower above The Cairns Post office.
Sky Commercial Pty Ltd, led by Alex Seckler, is planning to redevelop four sites including the 1908-built office at 22-34 Abbott Street, in the Cairns CBD.
Seckler bought the heritage-listed building in 2021 for nearly $4 million, and the adjoining strip of shops soon after, creating a 1.1ha amalgamated site.
The proposed tower above the existing buildings, by Hunt Design, includes three levels of parking, a residents recreation area with a pool as well as eight levels of short-term accommodation with 75 units.
“The overarching design concept is to create a poster child for tropical urbanism,” the application said, “to formulate a building that amplifies that Cairns is a city in a tropical garden.”
Although The Cairns Post newspaper building is more than 100 years old, the council did not support its nomination to the Queensland Heritage Register last year.
However, councillors confirmed their comittment to keeping its heritage facade and identified it as a Place of Local Significance.
The application was submitted to the Cairns Regional Council which is in the process of planning its Towards 2050 Growth Strategy Framework.
Deputy Mayor Terry James said they were looking at the city’s future needs in tems of infrastructure, services and amenities.
“Cairns is one of the fastest-growing regions in Queensland with the city’s population expected to grow to more than 241,000 by 2050, according to revised figures released by the state government in June,” James said.
“That is an increase of nearly 70,000 people, which will create the need for over 32,000 new homes during the next three decades.”
Keeping the “Cairns-ness” was a core value of council in the plans adding gentle density options and increased housing diversity.
Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef and resilience of cyclones were also unique considerations for future development in the city, 1700km north of Brisbane.