The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have signed a long-term development lease with Townsville City Council to secure use of the land for the club’s new Community, Training and High Performance Centre, as a key milestone in bringing the state-of-the-art facility to reality.
The 5,000m² parcel of land, located beside Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saunders Street, will house the multi-purpose building, while the Cowboys will have use of the adjacent 12,000m² Community training field through a user agreement.
The development is located within the Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area adjoining the Townsville Central Business District, between Ross Creek and Saunders Street, and will combine community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories.
When completed, the Centre will be the daily workplace of approximately 150 people, including Cowboys high performance and administration staff who will work alongside James Cook University medical and allied health practitioners and sports science and research teams in a collaborative, contemporary layout.
Cowboys Chief Executive Officer Jeff Reibel thanked Townsville City Council for their commitment to the project and its contribution to the inner-city renewal strategy.
“Townsville City Council have been extremely supportive of our new Centre as a concept and through the planning phase as we’ve worked to put the pieces in place,” Mr Reibel said.
“As a community-owned club with a commitment to giving back, we’re excited about the opportunity to expand our economic impact by creating a new environment that will introduce jobs, infrastructure and business to support the reinvigoration of the Townsville city heart.
“Our ability to bring this to life is dependent on our strong partnerships with city stakeholders who share the same vision, including Council and James Cook University.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville City Council was proud to partner with the Cowboys on the project.
“Queensland Country Bank Stadium was always designed to be a catalyst for economic activation in the Townsville central business district,” Cr Hill said.
“The development of the Cowboys’ Community, Training and High Performance Centre is the next step in that activation.
“The new Centre is great news for the Cowboys and great news for the wider Townsville community with the potential to drive visitors and athletes for training camps in our city.”
Associate Professor Fiona Barnett, Head of Sport and Exercise Science at James Cook University, said JCU is delighted to partner with the Cowboys on this project.
“The University has a longstanding partnership with the Cowboys, particularly in high performance and elite sports research.
“These proposed facilities will provide the region with access to world-class sports and exercise science facilities and expertise,” Associate Professor Barnett said.
The Cowboys have engaged global architectural and design practice Populous, specialising in sports facilities, arenas and convention centres, and Tippet Schrock Architects, a prominent Townsville-based professional design practice, to deliver the design of the new Centre.
Funding for the Community, Training and High Performance Centre has been secured through a $15 million grant from the Australian Government and capital-raising initiatives including the Cowboys Captains Walk in the Southern precinct of the new stadium.
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will provide a $20 million loan to support the construction of the Training and High Performance Centre.
The club has received approval for the loan facility, signed off by Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan on 1 December.
The Queensland Government have final veto rights to any projects funded by NAIF in Queensland and the Cowboys are currently awaiting their decision.