Build it and they will come
It’s an age-old adage but it’s one that rings true for Flinders Lane developer Martin Locke. When Martin purchased the former Discount Jeans building in Flinders Street he wasn’t sure what the future held for it. But when Townsville City Council purchased the neighbouring building, the former Sportspower store, with the view to knock down the structure to create an access link from Flinders Street to the CBD bus hub and through to the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium, an idea was born.
Together, this was an opportunity to create something very special, something that could transform and connect Townsville city and rejuvenate the CBD. An exciting, new entertainment and dining destination. A unique collaboration between private and public sectors. Flinders Lane.
“Council and I agreed, we both wanted Flinders Lane to look and feel as one precinct where the boundaries between public and private space disappeared creating a vibe unlike anywhere else in Townsville,” says Martin.
“It was only as the project developed over time, both before and during construction, where I fully realised the potential opportunity, but more so, the community responsibility I had been given. To be able to contribute in what is a relatively small, but extremely significant piece of infrastructure, gave me the fulfilment and purpose I now know I was searching for. This is the gift that Flinders Lane has given me, for which I am most grateful.”
With construction on the public laneway space now complete Flinders Lane is open to the public. The laneway is both functional and beautiful, with ramp and stair access from Flinders Street to Ogden Street, a stepped-seating amphitheatre, performing stage fully wired for sound, a balcony overlooking the lane and extensive lighting features including Council’s Halo Chandelier. The design utilised existing elements of the original building including retaining its brick walls and combined those with modern glazing, steel framework and added textures through recycled feature timber, green walls and hanging plants.
But this is just the beginning of the Flinders Lane story. The next chapter is all about finding the right tenant partners.
“Council and my team have created a magnificent space for magic to happen, but the reality is that only when my tenant partners and I find each other, will Flinders Lane truly come alive and Townsville will finally have a revived, beating City Heart,” offers Martin.
“The businesses who come into Flinders Lane are without doubt the key to creating that vibe. Each partnering business will have a unique point of difference and see benefit in working together with me and other like-minded business owners but above all, they will have their own story to tell, and will also be driven by a greater purpose.”
Martin credits developer Laurence Lancini’s vision and passion to invest and grow Townsville through his City Lane precinct across the road for making Flinders Lane possible. It is also in working together with City Lane that Mr Locke sees a defining coming of age opportunity for Townsville CBD. Mr Locke said City Lane and Flinders Lane each have their own identities and offerings, however, with Townsville’s CBD ready to grow up there are plans underway around how to subtly connect the two precincts to give Townsville a true laneway experience to enjoy and be proud of.
“Without the massive investment the Lancini Property Group made across the road in City Lane, Flinders Lane would not exist. Laurence’s commitment and love of Townsville gave us all City Lane, which gave me the confidence to do what I am doing in Flinders Lane. It ensured I have never had to doubt my decision, because all I needed to do was look across the road.
“Flinders Lane and all the business partners who choose to be part of this journey, I know will exceed all measures of success. But the ultimate reward will come from playing a greater game, which is to leave a legacy for their families and the community. That is Flinders Lane’s vision.”
Businesses interested in partnering with Flinders Lane should contact the team through the website – www.flinderslanetsv.com.au