Holiday Inn: Work starts on Geelong hotel development

Construction has started on the Geelong Quarter development at 44 Ryrie Street, Geelong. Geelong councillor Peter Murrihy and Franze Developments managing director Paul Franze.

Geelong’s first major hotel and apartment project in 20 years is a step closer with construction work starting on the CBD site.

The Geelong Quarter development will deliver Geelong’s Holiday Inn & Suites and two separate apartment complexes on the site of the former Trans Otway terminal on Ryrie Street.

Geelong councillor Peter Murrihy joined Franze Developments managing director Paul Franze on site as work got under way on Monday.

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Geelong Quarter will host Holiday Inn and two apartment complexes.

A piling rig has started drilling to install reinforced concrete piles to form a retaining wall around the basement of the 14-storey structure.

Maxcon is the lead builder on the project.

The building will have two parts — the landmark Holiday Inn tower, which also has the exclusive Ryrie Residences apartment project, and the separate 11-storey tower, Ryrie Home, containing 109 apartments.

The 180-room hotel will feature a sky lobby, pool, gym, restaurant, bar and cafe with ground floor retail.

A piling rig has started drilling holes ready for reinforced concrete cages and concrete to form a retaining wall surrounding the basement of Ryrie Street development.

The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

“It’s always good to see a start and a finish, ultimately,” Mr Franze said.

“We were keen from the outset to get it moving. Holiday Inn are excited on the back of the year they’ve had with COVID and are keen to get into the regional market here in Geelong.”

While Geelong Quarter has been in planning and pre-sales, new competitors entered with boutique hotel projects in the old post office and Ryrie Street Markets.

“That’s part and parcel of the industry – other people do the same research that we do and realise that Geelong is ever increasing in terms of popularity and tourism,” Mr Franze said.

“Our hotel will be the first of its kind in 20 years.

An artist’s render of the communal outdoor area atop Ryrie Home.

Buyers have snapped up 32 residences in the apartment complex.

“So I think the continued growth and the investment of government, local and state and federal are making to Geelong, we’ve got access to some of the finest surf beaches in the country, if not the world, so the amount of accommodation that’s available is under-supplied.

“That’s evidenced by how many other people are getting into the market.”

The Ryrie Home tower launched softly to the market in July, before the same campaign officially launched after the lockdown ended.

The Ritz is taking shape in central Geelong.

The Ritz is taking shape in Geelong.

“We’ve sold 32 essentially to all locals, a mix of downsizers, owner occupiers and first-home buyers and investors,” Mr Franze said.

“There has been a good spread of purchase profile across all different segments.”

While construction is starting in Ryrie Street, it appears to be close to the end in Bellerine Street, where The Ritz seems all but complete, externally at least.

The 4.5-star full service hotel provides 128 guest rooms and apartments on the site of the old Ritz Flats, a controversial CBD site that previous owners had left to decay for decades.

The heritage-listed facade has been restored as part of the development.