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NQ’s blue skies beckon

GOLD Coast-based builder GPH Projects sees a land of opportunity in Townsville, where the company’s owner Phil Dowthwaite has relocated to establish a northern base.

The builder has several years’ worth of work here developing luxury units for Brisbane-based fund manager Blue Sky and believes there is a bright future in the city.

Mr Dowthwaite liked Townsville so much he moved his family here, enrolled his children in Townsville Grammar School and has acquired a 1400sq m site at Yarrawonga where he will build a five-bedroom family home.

GPH has also bought commercial property at Garbutt for company offices and warehouse space to position itself for a resurgence in building ­activity.

“While it is quiet at the moment I see a bit of an opportunity here,” Mr Dowthwaite said.

“I think Townsville has a bright future and we are here for the long haul.”

GPH has bought a 263sq m office and warehouse at Unit 2, 42 Mackley St, for $400,000.

The office has been fully refurbished and with a high clearance warehouse, the property has drive-through access for heavy vehicles from either Pilkington or Mackley streets.

Mr Dowthwaite said it was a good buy and cheaper than leasing.

Adrian Pascoe of Ray White Commercial Townsville, who negotiated the deal, said GPH were among a growing band of owner occupiers acquiring their own sites.

“We are seeing a lot more owner occupiers coming into the market,” Mr Pascoe said.

GPH began building Blue Sky’s $35 million Castle Point development in Bundock St late last year. The first stage of 49 units is currently nearing completion and a second stage of up to 51 units is on the drawing board.

GPH has also just started work on an expansion of Blue Sky’s existing Riverside Gardens project, also valued at $35 million, a 110-unit development where another 82 units will be added in two stages.

The builder was involved in Townsville City Council’s Jezzine Barracks redevelopment, building the project’s amenities block.

Mr Dowthwaite said the company had work at Castle Point through to mid-2016 and would maintain its presence in southeast Queensland, where it was involved in unit ­development.

GPH does commercial and residential building but has carved out a niche in developing luxury homes, including one at Sanctuary Cove which sold for $7 million.

“Brisbane is pumping … but we also like Townsville,” Mr Dowthwaite said.

“The people here have been friendly and the city has a good feel.”