REVEALED: Transformation planned for iconic old hotel
LONG-TIME Rockhampton residents would remember it as the Central Hotel and more previously, the Masonic and Citizens Club.
But this old, dilapidated building is being breathed back to life.
Kele Property Group took ownership of the building when they bought it at a liquidator's auction in September.
Company director John Kele says they have big plans to transform the building.
The hotel will become a new upmarket hospitality and accommodation venue.
It is planned to have a bar, cafe, bistro with function rooms downstairs and accommodation upstairs.
"We're doing a major renovation in there....it's an exciting project," he said.
Rockhampton builder James O'Hanlon has been contracted to do the project.
The work is estimated to take seven months and be completed by September 2019.
It will receive a complete makeover, inside and out, and will be run by a local operator on a long-term lease.
"This is more of a renovation, the whole building is set up for functions," Mr Kele said.
Mr Kele didn't intentionally set out to buy the club, he just went to have a browse when it came up for auction.
"It ended up going for a good price and we could see an opportunity there," he said.
"It had all the bones, it was already set up as a club with commercial kitchen.
"Turning something new out of something old."
Wiliam St is quite the bustling place nowadays with many new businesses.
"I'm a big believer in making a precinct a little bit better," Mr Kele said.
"There are a few big things that have gone up
"Dingles and some other good little shops have gone up."
Compared to other function centres in town, Mr Kele said his venue would cater for a high class clientele.
"It will have a different edge and be more upmarket," he said.
KPG is responsible for many projects in town including Carls Jnr, the health and fitness hub, Kent and Archer, the Garden Villas in The Range's Ann St, the Parkhurst Central and the Savon Villas on Upper Dawson Road, where the Boldeman soap factory was.
"We find opportunities where we can build them or do them up," Mr Kele said.
Mr Kele was pleased to say he had seen a rise in the Rockhampton economy and there was a bit of confidence building.
"There's a resurgent in the property market because of these major projects that are happening around Rocky at the moment... we have gone through a dry period so its good to see us coming out with a bit of light at the end of the tunnel," he said.