ICONIC OVERHAUL: Henzell's Plaza is getting ready for a major renovation. Roy Henzell overlooks the construction with his son Mclean, whose company is behind the works.
ICONIC OVERHAUL: Henzell's Plaza is getting ready for a major renovation. Roy Henzell overlooks the construction with his son Mclean, whose company is behind the works. Warren Lynam

Visionary venture for iconic family business

A FAMILY whose business is Caloundra's bricks and mortar are adding a significant touch to the ever-changing town's heart.

The cornerstone of Bulcock and Minchinton Streets, Henzell's Plaza, is undergoing a $1.5 million redevelopment to bring the 45-year-old building into the modern age.

Mclean Henzell, of the real estate and development business's namesake, said the "playful and simple" design would feature a new cafe or bar plus another eight tenants.

At the helm of the company is his father, Roy Henzell, who has seen the coastal town develop far beyond any of his family's expectations since his grandfather started the business in 1935.


Bulcock St in the early days.
Bulcock St in the early days. Contributed

Roy said in his time on Bulcock St, businesses have come and gone, the banks have changed location, only to return, and familiar faces have either moved on or are lost in the growing crowds who call the coastal town "home".

But he is not complaining. It's been "good times" for the Henzell family, who are so engrained in the community they have a street named after them.

Roy knows his grandfather had vision - buying up 2000 acres of swampland in Caloundra's south tells him so.


But he doesn't believe he or his father, nor did he, anticipated the heights Caloundra would reach.

As the Sunshine Coast Council carries out the Bulcock Street Streetscape Project, Mclean said the time was ripe for their latest project.

His construction company, HM Developments, is responsible for the refurbishment and will become one of the tenants alongside O.G.E Group Architects, who redesigned the plaza, and Caloundra Law Firm.

Mclean said the renovation was the first since the building was constructed, and the vision was to activate the entry and facade of the building to draw the public through the new arcade thoroughfare.


Henzell's Caloundra headquarters over the years.
Henzell's Caloundra headquarters over the years. Contributed

"We have cut into the existing Henzell's Agency space to give an expansive frontage to the new cafe/bar that will be highly visible from Bulcock and Minchinton Streets," Mclean said.

Mclean said O.G.E director John Robertson was a Coast local, and passionate about giving the iconic building new life.

Mr Robertson has employed a warm material palate of wood cladding, hardwood ceiling battens, skylights illuminating the arcade and vaulted ceilings, and landscaped planter boxes will run the entire frontage.

"He wanted to create a playful but simple design that would bring a beautiful sense of light and space to both the external and internal areas," Mclean said.

"The existing terrazzo flooring is being given new life which is now back in vogue. New glass storefronts now fronting Minchinton St have louvres to all of the offices for natural ventilation and light.

"The existing building was finished in 1973 so we're excited to watch the new refurbishment prosper for another 45 years."

The renovation process has uncovered remnants of yesteryear, when Henzells was in its relative infancy after Roy's grandfather started the business in 1935.

A contract dated back to 1947 found in the safe tells of a property market today's eager investors could only dream of.

"35 pounds and pay it off a pound a month," Roy read.

Roy remembers his father had a piece of fibro painted with the canal layout, which as a boy only stretched the distance to where Roy would later build his home in adulthood.

"I don't know whether he envisaged the canals would go as far as they have," Roy said.

"I don't know if anyone envisaged another golf course and residential houses around it, it was just a new popular concept that came over from America and we embraced.

"I wouldn't think my grandfather saw it as being as dense or as advanced as it is, I certainly don't think my father thought it would go nearly as far, but it's just a case of the way things change... it's been good times."