ZARRAFFA'S BIG PLANS FOR FOODIE HEAVEN
Written on the 4 January 2016 by Nick Nichols
A LONG dormant site in the Brisbane-Gold Coast growth corridor is poised to become the new corporate headquarters of Zarraffa's Coffee, and potentially a new foodie heaven for the region.
Tonken Property Group, Zarraffa's development arm, has acquired the 5.4ha site at Eagleby for $12.5 million in a deal that will finally transform the eyesore with a view to creating a new tourism drawcard for the forgotten precinct.
The property was once earmarked by the Quinn Group as a factory outlet centre, with preliminary works abandoned when the company hit financial trouble in 2010.
Plans for the previously named OC @ Exit 35, located next to the newly refurbished historic Beenleigh Rum Distillery, were abandoned despite the bulk of construction work being undertaken by the Quinn Group.
The site has since lain dormant, attracting the attention of graffiti vandals, and early attempts by receivers to sell it have proved fruitless.
Zarraffa's, the Gold Coast-based coffee group headed by Kenton Campbell, has had its eye on the site for some time.
Campbell says he plans to relocated Zarraffa's existing headquarters at Helensvale to the 24 Distillery Drive site after undertaking preliminary works over the next year.
Zarraffa's will be anchor tenant in the 18,000sm building with the group headquarters also incorporating its training, packaging and franchising operations.
Tonken plans to create a vibrant new retail and food precinct on the site, leveraging off the revamped Beenleigh Rum Distillery drawcard.
Campbell says the move is designed to 'future proof' the business he founded in 1996, describing the new location as the heart of the company's domestic and international operations.
"The purchase was made with the support of the Logan City Council, with the clear intent to start moving Zarraffa's operations in a staged manner," says Campbell.
"We are also looking at plans to develop the property into a retail and food precinct, over a forecasted seven-year period.
"Zarraffa's and its associated operations currently employ 50 staff. The site development and future operations will create construction, hospitality and retail jobs during this period.
"Our next step will be preliminary works, which will include clean up and set up of basic infrastructure with a master plan to be developed over the next six to 12 months."
Colliers International's Stewart Gilchrist negotiated the sale under instruction from an Adelaide-based financial company. He says the site, located adjacent to the M1, has drawn strong interest from potential buyers, although multiple deals for the site have fallen over in recent years.
"Previous potential purchasers had a variety of plans for the property including entertainment venues, large format retail, markets, manufacturing and distribution centre and so on," says Gilchrist.
"Four contracts were issued to purchase the property, however for various reasons they did not proceed.
"Zarraffa's was aware of the property, and took the opportunity to make an offer when the time was right for its business."
Logan Mayor Pam Parker has welcomed the proposed Zarraffa's development, particularly for its potential to create a tourism drawcard for the city's southern fringe.
"The site in question has long been an eyesore as an unfinished development at the southern entry point of our city so I am pleased Tonken Property Group has purchased it and plans to do something so positive with it," says Parker.
"Having the national headquarters for such a well-established and high profile organisation such as Zarraffa's Coffee at the site, along with the adjoining Beenleigh Rum Distillery, will be a major drawcard for locals and tourists alike who travel along the M1 corridor.
"I know that our Economic Development and Development Assessment teams have provided much needed initial support and are committed to ensuring the best outcomes for the new owners and the city."
Zarraffa's Coffee has grown from a single roasting house operating in an industrial shed at Southport in 1996 to operating 73 largely franchised stores across Queensland, northern NSW and Western Australia.
Author: Nick Nichols