A concept plan for Townsville's new inner-city $185 million sporting stadium has been revealed for the first time.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have launched a bold bid to construct a football stadium in the city heart to replace the dilapidated Dairy Farmers Stadium.
The concept plan identifies a 17.28ha parcel of land bounded by Saunders St, and currently owned by QR National, as the ideal site for a new international standard stadium.
The 30,000 seat stadium would include 100 open-air corporate boxes and 25 enclosed corporate suites.
Two 450-seat function rooms and 24 permanent food and beverage outlets are included in the plan.
The ground would also include two 60 sqm video replay screens, four radio broadcast booths, two television commentary booths, a TV presentation suite and a press conference room and media lounge.
The concept plan, which has been delivered to the State Government, indicates it would cost $185 million to bring Dairy Farmers Stadium up to standard.
Master planning and analysis of Dairy Farmers conducted as part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Bid suggested a total redevelopment of the site and outlined key issues including the growth rate of the surrounding suburbs and incompatibility of hosting major events in an expanding residential centre, with limited public transport access.
The grassed hill area, while noted as a point of difference to other Queensland venues, was said to be increasingly unpopular with many hiring companies preferring a full seated venue.
Major disruption to hirers during construction resulting in falls in revenue was also noted as a hindrance to redevelopment.
The city site was deemed superior in terms of its location and accessibility and would be delivered at a similar cost to redevelopment of Dairy Farmers, which was originally converted from a horse track to meet minimal NRL requirements in 1995.
The bid book makes numerous references to Premier Anna Bligh's vision of Townsville as the "state's second capital - a rival for Brisbane in terms of economic, cultural and social opportunities". While the State Government has reacted optimistically to the plan, key ministers said securing the land from QR would present the biggest hurdle.
However, the plan states that relocating the existing rail yards to Stuart was consistent with the principles outlined in the Townsville Port Authority Master Plan 2010-2040.
Cowboys management yesterday spoke for the first time about the well-guarded plan for the new sporting facility.
Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini said relocating the home ground to the inner-city would not only benefit the club, but the city as a whole.
"Nationally and internationally, if you look at the statistics on new stadiums built close to cities (it) helps the revitalisation of cities," he said. "It certainly helps the valuation of properties around the stadium and helps the establishment of other reciprocal business, such as restaurants, hotels and the many users that would surround an entertainment facility."
Mr Lancini said when the Brisbane Broncos moved to Suncorp Stadium, "membership and attendance basically doubled overnight".
"If you look at most major cities a stadium is an entertainment venue and most cities have a stadium close to the city," he said.
"As far as Dairy Farmers Stadium, it's been a facility that's been good for us for many years.
"But we are a national sporting club and unfortunately we have to compete for our corporate sponsors, major sponsors and the people who our attend our venue.
"It's very difficult for us to compete, particularly with the corporate market, where competitors have facilities that are far superior to ours.
"For Townsville this venue will be a great entertainment venue for concerts and other sporting events that could be brought to the city.
"This facility would be fantastic for our city, particularly if the Gold Coast is successful with their Commonwealth Games bid for 2018.
"If we've got a facility like this it obviously enables a lot of those teams to be able to be based here for pre-games training."