Developers hope that the creation of a huge industrial business park will help remedy the Gold Coast’s traditional reliance on the tourism and construction sectors.

Private developer The Stephens Group is building the Gold Coast’s largest industrial business park at a former raceway site on the region’s northern fringe as part of efforts to diverse the region’s tourism-reliant economy.

The group hopes to transform its Darling Park Raceway site at Yatala into a 127-hectare enterprise hub that goes by the new name of the “Empire Industrial Estate.”

The site is situated within the Yatala Enterprise Area (YEA) – a 3,000 hectare zone that the state government has set aside for industrial business activity.

The group’s 10-stage master plan for the Empire Industrial Estate envisages the creation of 113 lots whose prices will range between $200 to $335 per square metre, for total potential value of over $250 million.

Site lots are being marketed by CBRE, Ray White and Wright Property at sizes of between 2,500 and 300,000 square metres.

Upon completion, the industrial park will host approximately 250 buildings with over half a million square metres of floor space, and provide jobs to as many as 5,000 workers.

The first stage of the project has already been completed, with the transformation of the raceway carpark site into an $80 million, 60,000 square metre distribution facility by heavy equipment giant Caterpillar.

Stage two will see the creation of a 36,000 square metre distribution facility by logistics company Cope Sensitive Freight, with deals also in the wings for a refrigeration centre and distribution warehouse.

The Stephens family has held the raceway site for nearly three decades and believes its location in between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and close to the M1 Motorway will make it a highly attractive destination for both domestic and international businesses.

According to the group’s managing director Tony Stephens, the development of the industrial business park will help to diversify the Gold Coast economy, which is still chiefly known for its tourism industry and theme parks.

The Gold Coast was one of the worst affected parts of Australia during the Global Financial Crisis, as a result of its dependence on the local tourism industry.

Gary Mays, secretary of the Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce, called for the diversification of the regional economy at the start of the year in order to counter the boom and bust cycles created by its over-reliance on the construction and tourism industries.