FIVE YEARS ON: Former Imperial Hotel to rise from the ashes
IT’S the hotel that’s been listed for “upgrades” multiple times, but five years ago today, a popular Gatton landmark burned to the ground.
Just months before it turned to ashes, the former Imperial Hotel in Gatton was deemed a fire risk and shut down by emergency services in the supreme court.
But the fire hazard was also approved for a makeover to become a backpacker hostel.
It was a $1.7 million project that would transform the “Impy” from a fire-risk hotel into a backpacker lodge, thanks to businessman Eskander Alokaily.
But on November 5, 2015, the historic pub was turned into a pile of ashes.
More than 15 months after it burned down, investigators ruled out charging anyone with arson.
Mr Alokaily spoke with the Gatton Star, telling them he had lost everything, including his job.
The neighbouring Wymans building and Supercheap Auto were also damaged in the blaze.
In 2016, clean ups went on hold as council waited to hear of any insurance legalities and asbestos contaminations.
But the once popular destination, now a vacant block, is scheduled to be rebuilt, this time as a student lodge for the university.
In August, Lockyer Valley Regional Council voted to approve a four-storey accommodation hub, with a rooftop bar and swimming pool.
The approval stipulates 50 per cent of the accommodation must be used by tertiary students.
It will have 123 single bedroom units as well as a yoga/gym/pilates area, and a café open to the public.