REVEALED: The first businesses to open at major development
LOCALS can expect to see new businesses at the Coffs Harbour Airport Enterprise Park development as soon as September to October this year, according to airport manager Dennis Martin.
Mr Martin confirmed these first tenants will be aviation-related services, including hire car companies and a service station.
New hangars are also expected to be constructed on site by this point.
Mr Martin said a hotel is in the pipeline, but it will be a longer process.
Potentially 75 new businesses and services could open up in the Coffs Harbour area at the new Enterprise Park, with the Coffs Harbour City Council-owned development consisting of 95 lots.
A total of 20 of these lots are already occupied.
Mr Martin, who has been heavily involved in the development, said he envisioned the park to be similar to the Brindabella Business Park located adjacent to Canberra Airport.
"It's the jewel in the crown from an airport point of view, and it's something I identified early in my review of the airport," he said.
"(The council) were initially looking to have an industrial development there, but location-wise with its proximity to the CBD and the jetty, the development has more value than that.
"So to me, a business park is what it needs to be, to generate new employment and business that we don't currently have in Coffs.
"If you look at Canberra, they've developed a business park that is phenomenal. While we won't get that standard here, we're halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and we've got good air services in and out, so there's no reason why you couldn't bring your business to Coffs."
Since changing their focus from an industrial park to a business park, Mr Martin said attempts are being made to draw in tenants such as I.T-related businesses, data centres, and distribution centres - businesses which Coffs previously hasn't been able to cater for.
"If it's done properly it's going to have a huge benefit economically for the city.
"For example a few years ago Eagle Copters opened up here. That was a new business which brought up to 38 new employees who sent their kids to school here, bought houses, and bought cars - and that's just one business.
"Think of potentially 50 new businesses, and you see it's got enormous potential."
Mr Martin, who has been contracted to manage the airport by the council over the past 11 years, is retiring at the end of this week.
Council is currently preparing a potential long-term lease of the airport and Enterprise Park development to a private operator, rather than continuing with the contract model, in order to access aviation expertise and investment.
Council was initially going to develop the park over several stages across 8-10 years, however these plans have been held off until the potential lease progresses.
"It would be silly to go down one path only to have the new operators decide they want to change direction," Mr Martin said.
"I have no doubt that the new operators will look at the development very seriously and it will probably progress a lot quicker. We just didn't have the resources to go in and do it all in one hit."
At this stage infrastructure works have been completed including water, sewerage, power, drainage and flood mitigation works.
A large retaining wall has been constructed as part of this.
The land and infrastructure has been built in line with 100-year flood considerations, as well as future sea level expectations.
Works are currently getting to stage of road construction. The first road will be the entry in and out of the park, joining Dakota Dr to Hogbin Dr.