John Wagner, the co-founder of one regional Queensland’s largest construction and development groups, Wagner Corporation, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Urbanity conference.
Wagner, who has been a leading figure in Queensland’s property industry for more than 30 years, first found his way into the property industry through his family’s stone masonry business which still trades to this day.
The Wagner family have been operating in Toowoomba since 1896 when John’s great-grandfather formed JH Wagner and Sons.
John, alongside his father and three brothers, Denis, Neill and Joe, would go on to establish construction materials and infrastructure company, Wagners, in 1989.
The company’s diversification also led it into precast concrete, reinforced steel, as well as ground-breaking building products and major construction and infrastructure projects at home and abroad.
A growing Wagners listed on the ASX in 2017 before expanding into property and infrastructure development and asset management.
In 2009, Queensland premier Anna Bligh acknowledged the business as the company that had made the most significant impact on regional Queensland in the state’s history.
Most notably, Wagner is responsible for funding and building the Wellcamp airport—the first privately-built airport in Australia in more than 50 years.
The project, billed as the country’s greenest airport, was built in 19 months before opening to flights in 2014. It is mostly used for freight and acts as a gateway airport for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
The airport now features a state-of-the-art trade distribution centre, the Qantas Pilot Training Academy and an expanding business park.
The airport and its surroundings will soon be the setting for aerospace and defence development and advanced manufacturing with plans for the new Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct, a 40-year, sustainability-driven vision.
The development’s first stage encompasses 20ha and will eventually be home to US-based aviation giant Boeing with a state-of-the-art primary final assembly facility for the company’s cutting-edge Loyal Wingman defence drone.
Wagner said the idea for the precinct was just something he “dreamt up one day” and added to the company’s ever-growing development list.
Wagner also plans to build a new multi-modal transport hub bringing excellent rail, air and road connectivity at Wellcamp, as well as an entertainment precinct at a cost of $230 million.
The precinct will have motorsport facilities and a performing arts venue and amphitheatre capable of seating 40,000 people.
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