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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Penguin spreading its wings [05jan06]

The Mercury: Penguin spreading its wings [05jan06]

PENGUIN has been dubbed "the Tasmanian Lorne" and now developers Stephen Roche and Keith Westerby are planning to attract people from Lorne, and other mainland seaside towns, to the North-West community.

Yesterday the pair, who run the revamped Penguin Market, released plans for a $10 million apartment and retail complex, Due North, to be built on the main street.

The ground floor retail level will have five commercial tenants and the upper three levels will house 10 luxury apartments, all overlooking the sea.

Mr Roche said while the two-storey apartments would appeal to Tasmanians, he would also market the complex in Sydney and Melbourne.

"Penguin is an ideal holiday home location for mainlanders as it is only a hour's flight away," he said.

"People in Sydney and Melbourne think nothing of driving an hour to get to a holiday home.

"I think an hour's flight is a viable alternative and these units, each over 200 square metres, will set a new benchmark for apartment living in Tasmania."

Mr Roche said an influx of mainlanders would bring great benefits.

"It means more people through airports and on the ships, it means they keep a car here and they will spend."

He said although the apartments had not yet been priced there was already a lot of interest in them.

"I have expressions of interest on three apartments and I have yet to begin marketing them."

He said there had also been a lot of interest in the commercial space, which he envisaged could house restaurants, cafes, a boutique or a medical centre.

"For retail and commercial tenants the kudos attached to being associated with a building of this nature can be enormous," Mr Roche said.

"I am not prepared to say who we are talking with but it will definitely add to the facilities and services that Penguin is desperately in need of."

He said the plans were before the Central Coast Council and he hoped approval would be gained and construction completed within the next 12 months.

"I know there will be objections, but I think anyone with an interest in Penguin will support the project when they realise what it will add to the town and how fantastic it will make the entrance look," he said.

Mr Roche, who has already spent more than $2 million transforming the Penguin Market, said more developments would follow.


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