­ Think of the Sunshine Coast and you’ll most likely conjure up images of stunning surf beaches and the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains. However, in Maroochydore, just a kilometre from the Pacific shore, an entire CBD is currently being built from scratch. The development will provide a business, entertainment, and leisure precinct for a community that — despite being Australia’s ninth-largest city region — has lacked a defined centre for commerce.

SunCentral Maroochydore Pty Ltd was created in 2015 to oversee the delivery and design of the new city centre, and John Knaggs was appointed as CEO to spearhead the project. “Most city centres grow organically — and haphazardly — over decades, even centuries,” says John. “But we’re building a CBD designed specifically for the twenty-first century. It will be a premier destination for business, residents, and visitors, and will shape this region’s future for generations.”

John is used to groundbreaking roles, having served as CEO of Sunshine Coast Regional Council since its creation in Queensland’s 2008 local government amalgamations. He has long recognised the need for a new CBD for the region and was a natural choice as CEO of SunCentral.

The new CBD designed by John’s team will comprise 165,000 square metres of commercial space, 65,000 square metres of retail space, and 2,000 apartments.

It will also include a premium hotel as well as entertainment, convention, and exhibition facilities, while 40 per cent of the 53-hectare site will be parks and waterways. And because the city centre is being built on an unencumbered infill site, a high-speed fibre-optic network will be embedded in its underground infrastructure, allowing the CBD to implement the very latest ‘smart city’ technologies.