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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

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    Key CBD corner set for major construction boost

    A $20 million plan to build an extra two floors at Cairns Square and stage 3 of council's Shields St redevelopment means more jobs and construction activity in the CBD.

    The corner of Abbott and Shields St could be a hub of construction activity within the next six months with two major projects on the horizon.

    Cairns Regional Council has approved a $20 million two-floor extension of the Cairns Square building, allowing CQ University to expand its footprint in the building.

    The timeline for that project could coincide with council's own plans to begin stage 3 of the Shields St redevelopment.

    The coincidental timing prompted a council directive to the Cairns Square developers, with project managers told to liaise closely with council officers to ensure the two projects can proceed in harmony.

    A motion to approve the Cairns Square upgrade - taking the building to six storeys - was put forward by councillors Richie Bates and Max O'Halloran at yesterday's ordinary meeting of council and carried with a range of conditions.

    "The development is located on a strategic site within the Cairns City Centre and should be designed to contribute to the character, amenity and vitality of the streetscape," council minutes read.

    "The extension to the existing building should promote high quality, contemporary building design that complement and enhance the established character and tropical image of the building."

    Yesterday's approval allows for work to begin within six months once final drawings and designs are completed.

    Council's approval conditions for the project also noted that work on stage 3 of Shields St could also start within the next six months.

    (Click here to watch the stunning fly-through video of Shields St stage 2 upgrade)

    "Council are likely to be embarking on Stage 3 of the Shields Street upgrade during the life of this approval and possibly commencing in the 2016 financial year," the council minutes read.

    "Project managers, designers, and/or contractors should liaise with Council officers with respect to timing of the potential upgrade works and coordination of such works. Access and egress may, at times, be impacted upon by the street upgrade."

    CQ Uni has a target of growing its local student population to 2000 domestic and 500 international students by 2020.

    Gallery of concept drawings for Shields St stage 3 upgrade