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Morley next step for Strzelecki

A $50 MILLION markets and restaurant precinct plan for Morley is the latest in a string of tourism-focused developments by the Strzelecki Group.

The Coventry Square plan will accommodate 140 small businesses employing 1,000 people at the former Coventry auto parts site on Walter Road.

Along with the markets, the plan includes a main street-style piazza and cafe and restaurant strip.

Strzelecki Group principal Greg Poland said the precinct would be a catalyst for further development throughout Morley.

"Morley council has some incredible ideas and visions, and they see the Galleria as one bookend and Coventry's as another bookend," Mr Poland told WA Business News.

"All in between, they're going to rezone and redevelop."

Mr Poland is hopeful the area between the Galleria and Coventry Square, which he said would be the biggest food-retailing centre in the state, would attract further development.

The expected opening date of the markets, providing the concept receives the necessary approvals from the Western Australian Planning Commission, is May 2010.

Mr Poland said it was his passion to develop vibrant tourism precincts for international visitors.

The Strzelecki Group is responsible for the development of landmark tourist precincts at Sorrento Quay, Dolphin Quay in Mandurah, and is also behind the North Port Quay marina proposal in north Fremantle, which has failed to win support from Premier Colin Barnett or his predecessor Alan Carpenter.

"What we aim to do is package those tourist experiences and market them overseas," Mr Poland said.

"Because we own part of Sorrento Quay, we own Dolphin Quay and we own Coventry's, we can do up brochures and get them in the embassies, we can organise bus tours to go here and there, and we can market these areas as a package in other countries.

"That hasn't really been done before, not in this state."

Mr Poland said the Carpenter government's lack of focus on tourism-oriented developments had created an opportunity for his business.

"Unfortunately for this state, but fortunately for us, most of the previous government policies were concentrated on the mining industry," Mr Poland said. "I saw this as an advantage for us to get into the tourist industry.

"I'm interested in the (tourists) who come down and want to experience our food, and look at Western Australian food.

"I don't mean an expo once a year, I mean walk into a place and see locally made cheeses, locally made smallgoods, seafood, our meats, our wines, that's what I'm interested in."

Future goals for the group include expanding its Philippines-based manufacturing division, Seabu, which creates ornaments and furniture from glass-fibre reinforced concrete.

Mr Poland said Seabu's long-term goal was to enhance the manufacturing technique used to create these products, for which the Strzelecki Group holds the patents, and move into building and construction.

"It will give us a very big point of difference, because apart from selling benches, tables, chairs and urns, we can make incredible statues and arches and add all sorts of artistic touches to our developments," he said.

"Plus we can make building products. Though we're concentrating on quality furniture, it's eventually going to end up becoming a building company."

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