First glimpse inside Rocky's new $17M luxury riverside tower
FIVE years ago, Andrew Beaumont and Wayne Riddell struggled to convince a bank to back their riverfront high-rise apartment hotel.
Now as they put the finishing touches on the luxury Gallery Apartments, the business partners already have solid expressions of interest from buyers wanting a slice of stage two.
Wayne and Andrew have transformed the city's skyline in multiple developments and worked harmoniously with Rockhampton Regional Council's plans to breathe new life into the Fitzroy riverbank.
When they were looking for funding for the Empire Apartment Hotel in 2012, local and state banks were reluctant to take a chance on the game-changer project.
They were told it was "too big for the region”, despite significant pre-sale figures.
Finally a bank in Melbourne funded them, with their lending facility moved back to Rockhampton as the project success became hard to ignore.
"It's a battle in the regions to get the projects to stack,” Andrew said.
The pair also let slip a little nugget of trivia about the naming of The Empire, revealing it was partially inspired by Chuck Bass's Gossip Girl hotel.
Andrew and Wayne's latest venture sitting alongside Rockhampton Art Gallery and the Pilbeam Theatre was designed with a specific buyer in mind, filling a market gap identified while building The Empire.
Andrew explained the $17 million Gallery Apartments were focused on luxury, with large apartments and underground parking.
There's no pool, but Andrew said their ideal buyers were empty nest owner/occupiers who didn't want the hassle or extra fees.
In any case the public pool and riverfront water play area just minutes away when family comes to stay.
Construction is on track to finish at the end of the month, and people who bought off the plan are close to picking up the keys for their new homes.
Although several apartments were sold before the first concrete pour, there are still 12 of the 30 on the market.
The building has been designed to pay homage to its namesake neighbour, with elements of red brick and unique angles.
Space for a restaurant has been included on the ground floor, but Andrew and Wayne are yet to lock in a business.
The pair plan to retain the restaurant, as they did with The Empire.
Wayne said this allowed them to make sure the offering matched the level of quality in the complex as a whole.
Whatever business takes on the space, they will have to cater for all-day dining as there is potential to capture a range of people from theatre-goers to visitors in nearby accommodation.
NBN fibre run direct to each apartment, a first for Andrew and Wayne who have previously run fibre to the node and copper to the apartment.
The units are spacious, and the front-facing apartment views stretch north and south along the Fitzroy.
The penthouse units were designed with extensive input from buyers, who bought into the project early.
They include custom-made kitchens and hidden bars, with style and savvy use of space the priority.
Planning is well underway for the second tower, which will focus on larger apartments and is already attracting strong market interest.
"We're just trying to see if we can get in on build budget,” Andrew said.
Andrew said the beauty of the smaller nine-storey complex was the way the river views unfolded from the windows.
By comparison in the 13-storey Empire, views like that are only possible when entertaining on the balcony.
The fencing is down now, and the build is expected to be completed by the end of the month.