The servo is making a comeback in Townsville with multiple groups vying to develop new fuel sites after decades when the norm was to remove them and develop something else.

New retailer on the block, Liberty Oil, is developing four new service stations in Townsville with the first having just opened on Charters Towers Rd in Hyde Park.

It has others set to open or under construction on Lakeside Drive, Idalia; Bayswater Rd, Garbutt; and Riverway Drive, Kirwan. Its Idalia site is just minutes away from three existing servos.

Separate groups including Lancini Property and Development are also planning servos in the city, Garbutt and Aitkenvale as part of wider retail projects.

Liberty Oil property manager Harry Osman said the company felt there was a huge opportunity in Townsville.

“We felt there was an opportunity to enter the marketplace with a high-end brand and good-value proposition to meet needs not currently met,” Ms Osman said.

“That’s why we’ve taken four areas of the town.”

Liberty Oil is investing more than $15 million and creating 60 jobs in Townsville as part of a wider move into the retail market after featuring in the wholesale sector.

The Hyde Park outlet is twice the size of its usual service stations and includes a large convenience centre with food and coffee. It entered the market offering unleaded fuel at 87.9c per litre.

According to the PetrolSpy, its current price of 96.9c was bettered by United in Hermit Park, BP in Garbutt and Shell in Belgian Gardens at 95.9c and United in Cranbrook on 91.9c, among more than 40 outlets in the city.

Colliers International commercial property agent Neville Smith, who negotiated the sales of Liberty’s four Townsville sites, said service stations were making a comeback after dropping away in the late 1980s when it was perceived the city was over-serviced and margins were very thin.

He said criteria for sites included the amount of traffic passing the sites, usually around 20,000 vehicles a day, as well as any changes in recent traffic movements and ease of access.

He said Liberty’s new Lakeside Drive site was an example where it was considered more convenient for everyday motorists than the nearby BP truck stop or the Woolworths Caltex site inside the shopping centre.

“Convenience is what it’s all about. They are mini supermarkets offering everything from dental floss to jumper leads,” Mr Smith said.

He said developers also had an eye to the future and were designing locations to take battery-charging stations when electric vehicle use took off.

Extracted from Herald Sun