The Pavilion Arcade, a central Airlie Beach retail centre that has been transformed since the devastation of Cyclone Debbie two years ago, is completing a $4.3 million expansion in a sign of continued confidence in the Whitsunday Coast.
The plans come on the heels of $3 million in repairs and upgrades undertaken by property owner Jobern since the cyclone hit in March 2017 and an additional $1.3 million now being spent in final stages of completion.
Jobern is headed by Josh Thompson, the seasoned developer who created Peppers Coral Coast Resort in the Whitsundays and who played a significant role in the transformation of inner Byron Bay more than 20 years ago.
Mr Thompson said the planned upgrade has been on the drawing board for some time, with council approvals granted just a month before the cyclone devastated the region.
“Pavillon Arcade was one of the worst-affected buildings in Airlie Beach, but with the support of our tenants and our insurer we have bounced back well,” said Mr Thompson.
The repairs have led to a fresh new look for Pavilion Arcade which has been completely reskinned with the addition of a new awning and façade elements and majority of shops completely redone internally.
The repairs and refurbishment, which took 20 months to complete, forced Jobern to place its original expansion plans onto the backburner.
“Most of the retail areas were a write-off after the cyclone and we had to start from scratch to rebuild them,” said Mr Thompson.
“Now that that work is complete, the time is right for us to get on with our original plans,” he said.
“We have now added to our original plans with an addition of a 60KW Solar Array system to help reduce power cost of all the tenants.
“Airlie Beach is back on its feet, the tourists have returned and business is on the rise.
“There has been major expenditure in redoing the major Whitsunday islands so it’s starting to return to business as usual.”
The Whitsunday Regional Council has just completed a $7 million dollar upgrade of the Airlie Foreshore immediately between Pavilion Arcade and the ocean.
Jobern’s plans include a new 180sqm restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas, a 155sqm rooftop restaurant and bar featuring Vergola roofs, a new 100sqm café and a day spa all the new spaces will offer parkland access and ocean views across the Coral Sea.
Existing tenants in Pavilion Arcade include national tenants Rip Curl, Boost Juice and Brighteyes Sunglasses.
“There’s a lot of confidence in Airlie Beach at the moment as evidenced by the significant capital expenditure both on the mainland and islands over the last 2 years both by insurers and property owners,” said Mr Thompson.
“We’re keen to get on with delivering the next stage of Pavillion Arcade and then opening discussions with potential new tenants.”
Given the advance nature of the construction program Jobern expects the work to be completed by end of September.
Mr Thompson has completed more than five apartment projects in areas such as Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and Airlie Beach.
He has delivered a $3 million Bed and Breakfast in Byron Bay, developed the West Byron Shopping Centre and delivered three major commercial buildings in Byron Bay over a three-decade career in property development.