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  • Could this $10 million hotel proposal help create new pedestrian zone on the Esplanade?

    A revamped proposal to build a 4+ star hotel on a prime Esplanade corner site is expected to add weight to calls by Crystalbrook Collection to close the street to traffic between Shields and Aplin Sts.

    The proposed development above McDonalds on the Esplanade has risen in height to six levels, including 76-rooms and a rooftop bar. Local business identities Adam and Katrina Adams and Paul and Kim Kelly hope the development can be approved by Cairns Regional Council by the end of the year, with construction to start in early 2019.

    The developers hope the new hotel, named Esplanade Central, will be operational late next year at around the same time as Crystalbrook Collection's $120 million Flynn hotel just a block away.

    Crystalbrook Collection's CEO Mark Davie has previously called for the section of road between Shields and Aplin Sts to be closed to traffic to create a walkable pedestrian and dining precinct.

    Mr Davie envisions a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly zone to cope with the combined growth in tourism and the local population. 

    “We think there is great potential to create an area that is very attractive and very practical that will also increases the desire for investment,"  Mr Davie said at the time. "If council can put forward an attractive vision for the area with tangible potential for growth then operators are much more likely to invest in their properties."

    The development application for Esplanade Central framed the hotel's expected onsite car park shortfall within the context of future traffic plans on the Esplanade, including possible restrictions on vehicle movements near the site.

    "Any parking provision onsite would limit council's planning options in the future," the application reads.