Cairns council reaches deal on Courthouse purchase
Despite some early concerns over a potential legal wrangle, Cairns Regional Council has reached an agreed sale of $5.75 million for the Cairns Courthouse Hotel.
Cairns Regional Council has just announced it has successfully negotiated a sale price of $5.75 million for the Courthouse Hotel, avoiding any potential legal wrangle in the process.
The settlement reached today - which doesn't include the pub's poker machine licenses - means council's bold vision for an arts precinct in the CBD will now proceed, linking the former pub, the Cairns Regional Gallery and the old Mulgrave Shire Council building.
Announcing the successful deal outside the Courthouse Hotel this afternoon, Mayor Bob Manning said it would provide a significant boost to the attractiveness and liveliness of the CBD.
The current operators of the pub are able to continue the lease in its current form, with Cr Manning saying the council's CBD Masterplan would need to be finalised and costed throughout 2017 before any clear plans are announced for the building.
"We didn't compulsorily acquire the property, the parties sat down and negotiated a price of $5.75 million, so there's no controversy - it's an agreed sale," Cr Manning said.
"This will become a large arts precinct for a city of our size, but given the talent we have here, and our very close links with Indigenous art, we will be able to create a precinct that is of great interest and a real draw for tourism.
"Once we implement the CBD Masterplan, within this area we will have the School of Arts Building, this Arts Precinct with its three buildings, the Munro Martin Parklands, the Cairns Performing Arts Centre and the Cairns Aquarium.
"Those are all places that people staying in inner city hotels can visit, and all of those attractions create a day or two days worth of activities for people right here in the CBD.
Cr Manning said the Cairns CBD was finally coming to life after years in the doldrums.
"We had a CBD that was starting to look a bit sorry for itself and there was a need to pull down some old infrastructure and modernise and recreate the roads.
"Lake St is a great example of what's been done in that regard."