Rydges reveal extent of Wood St investment
EXCLUSIVE: UP TO 15 staff are needed to fill jobs "immediately" as hotel brand Rydges confirm they have taken over Mackay Grande Suites.
A new general manager who has come on board this week revealed the ground floor restaurants, including AM Bar and the new AM Restaurant (formerly Cactus Jacks), would be getting a major overhaul reminiscent of inner-Sydney cafes.
Jonathon Stubbs has worked with Rydges for 14 years, mostly around Sydney, in Canberra, Port Macquarie and now Mackay.
"Rydges were really excited to get into this market, we've invested in a few properties up in (Queensland) and it's an area that's really bouncing back and there's plenty of industry and business confidence right now," MrStubbs said.
"Rydges has come in as a management company, we've got some new owners who are quite keen to do some developments through the food and beverage areas as well, so they're really confident in the region and wanting to invest some money in the area."
The entire Mackay Grande Suites complex was initially offered for sale in January 2017.
By March, high-profile Mackay developer John Cowley's Cougar Developments had appointed voluntary administrators Ernst and Young to the property.
Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited confirmed this week they had entered into an agreement with Sheep 10 Pty Ltd to manage the property under the Rydges Hotel brand alongside their other hotels and resorts across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Mr Stubbs said there wouldn't be much change to the 4.5-star accommodation, instead focusing on working with local businesses in corporate travel.
"It's been doing okay recently, coming off administration it's always hard. But currently we're sitting around the 70 per cent occupancy rate, which is a good sign," he said.
"There's some great opportunities to work with local businesses and the convention centre, if we work together we can drive plenty more business into the region."
Mr Stubbs said investing in the CBD space was appealing.
"It's such a great street, Wood St, with so much potential and so many events and fairs happening like the Italian Street Festival and Festival of
Arts which we're already going to be involved in," he said.
He moved his family up just a fortnight ago, with his wife Jodie, five-year-old son Riley and 18-month-old daughter Ava settling in to their - somewhat warmer - new home, school and daycare centre.
His wife also works in the hotel industry, but is taking a break while the family adjusts to the big move.
"It's an exciting time; Mackay seems like a great place to bring up a young family," Mr Stubbs said.