HISTORY GONE: The scene on Fitzroy St yesterday. 84 Fitzroy St (at right of photo) will be restored.
HISTORY GONE: The scene on Fitzroy St yesterday. 84 Fitzroy St (at right of photo) will be restored. Gerard Walsh

Heritage demolished in the blink of an eye

MORE than 150 years of history was wiped out in just a few hours yesterday when half of the Plumbs Chambers site was demolished.

Just days after lodging a development application with the council for the expansion of Rose City Shoppingworld, owners the McConaghy Group sent contractors rolling up Fitzroy St at 7am.

Work on demolition of other structures began on Saturday before the rodeo parade and also now gone is the former McDougall and Sons building.

The McConaghy Group plans a $40 million expansion of Rose City, including a Coles, more specialty shops and a bigger underground carpark.

In the way of the plan was the older of the two Plumbs buildings, the timber one at 82 Fitzroy St, which was thought to be the oldest shop in Queensland, dating back to around 1860.

It was mistakenly left off the council's heritage list more than a decade ago by a consultant, which also meant it was not eligible for State heritage protection.

The McConaghy Group will restore its "newer" and listed sandstone neighbour at 84 Fitzroy St as part of its plans for Rose City.

The demolition of No 82 will make way for a new truck turning bay, which will weave around No 84.

A council spokeswoman said the McConaghy Group had the option of getting a demolition permit through a private certifier but chose to go through the council.

She said there was no requirement for demolition approvals to be publicly notified in advance.

She also said the traffic impact had been minimal.

"Council is not aware of any impacts on parking or traffic above those that would normally apply when buildings that are built up to the front boundary need to be demolished," she said.

Work on the site is expected to continue today.

Expansion plan for Rose City centre will not be publicly advertised as the whole site is already zoned for major retail


'Younger' Plumbs to be kept 

THE McConaghy Group will restore the remaining half of the Plumbs Chambers site, incorporating it into an extended Rose City Shoppingworld.

There is no specific tenant secured so far for the renovated building, but the group says the project will cost more than $1 million.

A company spokesman said they had already completed the detailed design work for the revamp of 84 Fitzroy St.

"This included researching the original building techniques and took almost a year, but will ensure an authentic restoration," he said.

"The approach is to change as little as possible while putting right the structural flaws which led the building to decay in the first place."

He said number 84 had "serious challenges".

"Not least these include installing a footing underneath the sandstone wall, currently shielded by a gantry, to make it safe for the long term," he told the Daily News.

"The refurbishment will be a careful process which will take some time, to ensure the safety of workers and the integrity of the finished building.

"We are sourcing local tradespeople where possible but in some instances we have been forced to look interstate to get the right specialist heritage experience.

"Future commercial tenancies will be chosen to respect the heritage nature of the building".

The spokesman would not be drawn on rumours the McConaghy Group is looking at more property acquisitions on Palmerin and Grafton St to further extend Rose City.

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