As part of their plans for a $44-million highrise, CEO John Rafferty said the C.ex Group envisions Vernon St to become a food strip similar to Moonee St.
As part of their plans for a $44-million highrise, CEO John Rafferty said the C.ex Group envisions Vernon St to become a food strip similar to Moonee St.

CEO reveals C.ex Group’s lofty vision for future of CBD

The C.ex Group has spent over a year strategising ways to activate the CBD - and with their major plans for a $44-million mixed-use high-rise now revealed, John Rafferty believes they've struck the right mix.

Mr Rafferty, CEO of the C.ex Group, said they'd also looked at a potential 4-and-a-half star hotel development during the planning process.

However they've since lodged plans for a thirteen storey commercial and apartment building at the site of City Boulevard just opposite the C.ex Club.

The Advocate revealed the plans earlier this week, which include 95 apartments, 155 carparking spaces and retail spaces on the ground floor, as well as an open-to-air public laneway joining Harbour Dr with Vernon St.

Mr Rafferty envisions these plans will not only provide a much-needed revitalisation of the area - but would see Vernon St transform into a thriving food strip.

"We've been working on this for about 18 months. We've been looking at a lot of different strategies and we think that this is a good mix for Coffs - it can really activate the city centre," he said.

Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. View from Harbour Dr.
Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. View from Harbour Dr.

"What we wanted was to get our Club into a position where there will be different eateries around. I believe that other food places will open up, and we envision Vernon St to become more like Moonee St in the future."

Mr Rafferty clarified that the development is not seniors living, but is open to any purchaser.

It is expected that the apartments would mostly be bought by owner-occupiers, with some investors.

And while it is not a seniors living development, the apartments have been designed to ensure they accommodate for Coffs Harbour's growing ageing population, with 20 of the units meeting the Silver standard for liveable housing design.

"We've got a lot of seniors in Coffs Harbour and I would envisage there will be people who will sell their homes and buy an apartment in town.

"It's easy access to everything - it's all in walking distance."

Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. Entrance from Harbour Dr.
Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. Entrance from Harbour Dr.

 

In this vein, it is also hoped that the apartments would encourage eco-friendly habits.

Each apartment would have its own designated storage area where bikes can be kept, and Mr Rafferty said this would allow people to avoid using their cars, particularly with the new bike path linking the CBD directly to the jetty foreshores.

Coffs Harbour City Council launched its 'Green Spine' trial linking the CBD to the sea in August last year.

There is no clear-cut timeline for the development just yet, as the C.ex Group await DA approval from the Northern Region Planning Panel.

 

Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. Entrance from Vernon St.
Artist's impression of C.ex Group's proposed highrise in the Coffs CBD. Entrance from Vernon St.

 

If it is approved Mr Rafferty said they would then start pre-selling the apartments, and begin building when about 70 per cent have been sold.

City Boulevard would be demolished to make way for the development.

Mr Rafferty said a majority of the tenants of City Boulevard are currently on expired month-to-month leases, however plans are underway to tie them up into the new development.

"The feedback has been positive, there hasn't been much negativity with these plans.

"I've spoken to quite a few people now who are already interested in buying an apartment."

The C.ex Group's plans fall in line with Coffs Harbour City Council's City Centre Masterplan, which promotes high density residential living in the city centre.