Quest Serviced Apartments has opened its $11 million complex in Whyalla (near Adelaide)  despite the backdrop of the mining boom slowdown.

Quest Whyalla will have 56 studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom self-contained apartments.

Quest chairman Paul Constantinou says the Whyalla opening comes as direct response to the region’s “tenacious” growth.

“Whyalla is thriving, fuelled by long-term development of the resource industry, which has, in turn, brought significant investment in local infrastructure.

“This growth is continuing to stimulate demand for functional and flexible corporate accommodation – a demand that we make it our business to respond to,” Constantinou says.

Franchisee Jennifer McDonnell says there has been an increasing demand for self-contained accommodation in Whyalla.

The 4.5-star property is one of eight new Quest Serviced Apartment properties opening in the 2012-13 financial year.

Quest, which is also set to open at Sydney Olympic Park next month, has 140 complexes across Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, spread across central business districts, suburban and regional areas with proximity to head offices, business centres and key tourist destinations.

Sydney Olympic Park complex is set amid offices and business parks. Elsewhere is NSW, there is also a site at Shellharbour judged to be set to benefit from the growth in Wollongong as well as the new Stockland development at Shellharbour.

In Melbourne Quest have targeted country regions such as Bendigo along with Docklands aimed at visitors who don’t want to pay the high five-star-hotel prices.

Founded in 1988 by Paul Constantinou with one hotel in Fitzroy, the group offers apartments for short or longer stays, complete with kitchens and laundries.

Investors can buy strata units with building management run by franchisees, who must adhere to Quest management standards.

The Wyyalla town recently attracted attention after federal opposition leader Tony Abbott suggested the carbon tax would destroy the town, which triggered a comical response from Labor hovernment minister Craig Emerson.

Although BHP’s expansion plans are on hold, mining company Arrium has reopened its Iron Baron Mine, in a move that state Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says is a sign of the rejuvenation of South Australia.

Closed in the early 1990s, the mine near Whyalla was officially reopened on September 18 this year.

The reopening is due to create about 100 jobs and to support businesses in the area.

Arrium Mining chief executive Greg Waters says Iron Baron is just one part of its larger South Australian investment program, which includes its Middleback Ranges projects, Southern Iron operations near Coober Pedy, and its ongoing Whyalla port expansion.

The Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, South Australian Manufacturing and Trade Minister Tom Koutsantonis and president of the Local Government Association Kym McHugh recently signed an agreement to work together on promotion of the upper Spencer Gulf region to mining companies.

Whyalla is the leading South Australia area where it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

Rents in Whyalla had grown 10.7% to $310 per week in the five years to May 2012. Median rents are now at $350, according to RP Data.

Source : http://www.propertyobserver.com.au

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