Buyers flock as Empire unveiled ahead of November opening
APARTMENT sales have shot up as the scaffolding comes down on Rockhampton's luxury riverfront apartment hotel.
A total of $2.8million worth of apartments at the Empire has sold in the past six weeks.
That brings to $55million the total sales for the towering Victoria Parade development, which boasts 98 one-bedroom hotel apartments and 40 residential apartments.
That leaves only a handful of apartments to sell before the $65million project opens in mid-November.
Andrew Beaumont and Wayne Riddell, the men who have guided the rise of the Empire, now have their sights set on another riverside development.
They are waiting for the Rockhampton Regional Council to approve their Gallery Apartments.
The proposed eight-storey development, which will sit beside the city's art gallery, will consist of 68 residential apartments and a restaurant.
Mr Beaumont said the success of the Empire showed there was a market for high-end apartments on the Fitzroy River.
He said it was normal to see a late concentration in sales as prospective buyers could actually see the finished project.
"While we had a lot of sales prior to construction and strong sales during construction as well, some people are reluctant to purchase until they see what it looks like," he said.
"With the scaffolding coming down, the market is seeing just how good the Empire looks and that reflects those recent sales."
One-bedroom apartments from $365,000 (inc. furniture)
Two-bedroom apartments from $465,000 (inc. furniture)
Three-bedroom apartments from $725,000
Mr Beaumont said all bar one of the 122 buyers to date were from Central Queensland.
"Regional buyers in apartment projects require larger apartments because they are used to coming from larger homes," he said.
"Recent sales have largely been owner-occupiers. Of that $2.8million, over $2.1million has been for the three-bedroom apartments."
Mr Beaumont said buyers were particular about on-site amenity.
"The restaurants downstairs at the Empire have been a massive factor for residential buyers. They want that choice," he said.
Pacino's, Rockhampton's well-known family-owned Italian restaurant, will operate there alongside the Coffee Club and the much-anticipated Ribs and Rumps restaurant.
Fit-outs of the three restaurants have begun.
THE GOING RATE
Median unit prices for the June quarter 2014 from the REIQ
Airlie Beach $360,000