Demolition of 8 River Street building deemed best way forward

Published: 05 Apr 2024

A building at 8 River Street, earmarked for a refurbished food and beverage outlet, will be demolished.

The existing structure, formerly Maria’s Donkey and more recently Don Daniels, is structurally compromised and not suitable for refurbishment.

It will be demolished and the riverbank site reinstated.

A portion of the budget council had committed for refurbishment of the building will be used for investigating design options for the development of the prime riverfront site.

The balance of funding will be set aside to go towards delivery of a preferred option once approved.

The council-owned 8 River Street is adjacent to the State Heritage-listed Paxton’s building. However, it is not part of that property and is not heritage listed.

Director Planning, Growth & Sustainability Aletta Nugent said demolition was the best decision in terms of safety and financial responsibility.

“This will make the area safe,’’ she said.

“It will also provide a greenfield option for a new development on this prime site, with activation of the space in the interim,’’ she said.

“A new greenfield option will help capitalise on the site’s potential, including over-water opportunities, and include flood immunity in any new build.’

Work on the site, being undertaken by Woollam Constructions, was paused late last year while council determined the best value for money approach.

Ms Nugent said council was aware of the damage present however it was only after the deck was demolished, internal walls removed, and concrete flooring removed that the full extent of issues with the building were uncovered.

“More pylons than originally thought would also have needed to be replaced which adds significant cost,’’ she said.

“Recommended alternative piling methods and associated costs were significantly over budget.”

The building was braced at that time to make it safe and the contractor vacated the site.

Ms Nugent said the site, part of the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA), was a key link between the River Wharves area, Bluewater Quay, and the City Centre.

She said once the building was demolished the riverbank area could be activated.  Concepts and designs for a future development of the site can be investigated, as the site will be construction ready for potential funding opportunities.

8 River Street