The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation hub.
The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation hub.

Rooftop bar, pool for new Gatton CBD development

THE former Imperial Hotel site is set to become a four-storey student accommodation hub, with a rooftop bar and swimming pool.

The development has been welcomed by Lockyer Valley councillors, who yesterday approved a development permit for material use of change.

"I think it's an absolutely wonderful initiative, an opportunity to activate and validate our CBD," Mayor Tanya Milligan said.

The 1885.85sq m lot at 41 Railway Street will become a four-storey building with 123 single bedroom units for student accommodation.

The DA states at least 50 per cent of residents must be international students attending a recognised tertiary institution. There will also be an onsite manager.

The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation hub.
The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation hub.

Not only will the new facility boost Gatton CBD infrastructure, but it will also have a cafe that's open to the public.

The plan is for the cafe to open from 5am to 9pm, seven days a week.

The plan has incorporated a detailed impression of the Imperial Hotel, which was formally a heritage-listed building.

Plans also include a student learning centre, a gym/yoga/pilates area, a cycle store and workshop, student lounge, rooftop bar/lounge, swimming pool, communal laundry and kitchen.

With the intention of attracting international students, the transport plan for the site involves using bikes, share cars and a shuttle bus service.

Councillors were concerned new residents would take up the limited existing parking spaces in the Gatton CBD.

Cr Jason Cook said locals were already complaining that they could not park in the street in front of a shop they wanted to visit.

"The issue I have is with the parking. I know it's been balanced with push bikes and buses, but long term running a free bus?," he said.

The development includes 32 carpark spaces accessible from Wiggins Street, as well as 31 bicycle spaces.

The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation site.
The former Imperial Hotel in Gatton will be transformed into a student accommodation site.

Alternatively, cars may be stored at an off-site facility within 500m walking distance to the student accommodation.

Cr Milligan said not all students would have cars.

"It is a niche market, not all students want to stay on campus. It's about embracing the culture and community you're living in," she said.

The application was publicly notified for 16 business days, during which time no submissions were received in relation to the application.

It's expected the development will create up to 47 jobs.

Cr Cook was concerned the facility may not reach 50 per cent international student capacity, especially given coronavirus restrictions.

"Where do you guarantee that you're going to fill that place with international students,

he said.

"We're in COVID at the moment. If that doesn't happen, does the carparking get out of hand? This isn't a showstopper for me at all, but it's a question in my head."

It was discussed if the developers wanted to open the facility to non-tertiary students, they would have to request a change through council.

"It's a very exciting project for Gatton and might be the catalyst to revitalise the Gatton CBD," Cr Janice Holsten said.



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