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7 first impressions of Brisbane’s new City Plan

Gold Coast Investor, Property Management, Real Estate Gold Coast, Mortgage Broker Gold Coast, Gold Coast property market, Southpoint


Today, Brisbane City Council released the revised Brisbane City Plan to the general public.

As developers and town planners review the implications of the new plan, leading planning and design firm Place Design Group provide their 7 first impressions below:

Impression # 1 – We are getting there

The Revised Draft of the City Plan is much closer to a scheme which is capable of taking Brisbane and its development forward for the next 10+ years. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Amanda Cooper and the City Plan Team within Council should be congratulated for their sensible revisions to the Draft Scheme.

Impression # 2 – Council is Listening

The industry was very vocal about some of the provisions or approaches contained within the original draft scheme, particularly in relation to changes which would affect project viability and affordability. We are pleased to see that Council has taken much of this feedback onboard and small and significant changes have been made throughout the updated draft to address these industry concerns.

Impression # 3 – Carparking Demand is not the same across the entire city and shouldn’t be provided this way.

Council has accepted the evidence and facts provided through detailed research (including work by PLACE Design Group commissioned by Council) and by the industry, in relation to car parking rates for multiple unit dwellings. Council has sensibly gone away from a blanket city wide parking rate, recognising that demand and usage of cars is less in the City Centre, City Frame and in proximity to public transport nodes. The revised scheme provides parking rates that are appropriate for their location and at rates that are equal or less than the City Plan 2000, which is a great outcome.

In addition, a reduction to the required visitor parking rates across the city to a rate of approximately 1 space per 7 units as opposed to 1 space per 4 units under the City Plan 2000 is a very positive step forward that will see improvements to how projects are delivered.

Impression # 4 – Front loaded community engagement is enough

Council has made a key step forward by making multiple unit dwellings code assessable in those parts of the city appropriately zoned for those uses and densification. Gone are the days of Council hedging their bets by saying units are encouraged but then still making them run the gauntlet of community objection and potential appeals. Providing the units comply with their nominated maximum building heights, developers will be able to take certainty in their projects and development rights conveyed by the actual Planning Scheme. Previous work by PLACE Design Group has illustrated that this change alone could see savings greater than $10K on the cost per unit, which is a big win for affordability.

Impression # 5 – Neighbourhood Planning is important, but not the only way for large scale brownfield or major projects to occur.

The strategic framework within the original draft of the City Plan 2014, placed significant emphasis upon Councils’ established Neighbourhood Planning processes as being the only way to facilitate new planning and redevelopment around the city. Now whilst their Neighbourhood Planning process is well recognised as being best practice, many examples were put up by the industry of major projects or precincts that have redeveloped over time, without the benefit of a preceding Neighbourhood Plan.

Council has reflected this fact by acknowledging that development may be able to proceed where a comprehensive planning process has been completed which has been undertaken on a precinct approach with community consultation and consideration of the planning matters consistent with the scope of a neighbourhood plan prepared by the Council. This is a great outcome and acknowledges that developer lead development and planning is a viable alternate to Council’s processes.

Impression # 6 – The KISS principle of Keeping it Simple

The updated draft of the scheme has consolidated a number of development codes that were previously quite repetitive or confusing as to which code to use where and when. This consolidation and simplification of the codes will aid in simplifying the application draft and assessment process.

Impression # 7 – Small Freehold Lots are a Viable Alternative to units or sprawl.

The Amended City Plan will facilitate new smaller freehold blocks of land to be created throughout the city. The amended plan has retreated somewhat from the original draft by now limiting those smaller blocks in low density areas to those areas within 200m of centres with a minimum area of 2000sqm, but the intention for the rest of the city is clear. That smaller freehold blocks of land with single detached houses can be delivered whilst retaining our suburban and subtropical character, and facilitating more affordable housing in our city.

PLACE Design Group is a leading international planning, design and environment consultancy with offices in Australia, China and South-East Asia. 

You can read the full City Plan here. 



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Brisbane apartment market in the spotlight: Media Hunt’s May update

The media veteran Steve Hunt has cast his eye over the Brisbane market and what’s happening in the Queensland capital

The Brisbane apartment market continue to show strength over May, posting 1.1 per cent gains, CoreLogic’s monthly Hedonic Home Value Index found.

The rolling quarterly apartment gains are now up to 3.2 per cent, with the median apartment price reaching $411,000.

The media veteran Steve Hunt, who founded the public relations and media strategy firm Media Hunt in 2005, has cast his eye over the Brisbane market and what’s happening in the Queensland capital.

Hunt mentioned The Fernery, which has been popular with local owner-occupiers

Urban recently spoke to Colliers residential director Andrew Scriven, who said most of the buyers have come from a couple of kilometre radius.


The Fernery 47 Conavalla Street, Ferny Grove QLD 4055 

“There’s been overwhelming success since launch in April from the local market, looking to either downsize, invest or secure something for the children,” Scriven said.

“Locals have really embraced the project. They haven’t really had that offering ever.”

The project by the Townsville-based Honeycombes, in partnership with their financier MaxCap, will comprise the 82 apartment block The Fernery, as well as a 12,000 sqm retail centre set next to the Ferny Grove train station.


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First look: S&S Projects lodge plans for mixed-use Coolangatta development Esprit


The crowning glory of the development in Club Esprit, a rooftop residents only rooftop and wellness space.

Fresh off the success of their nearby Flow and Awaken Residences, the Gold Coast developer S&S Projects has lodged plans for its latest coastal development.

They’re set to develop a mixed-use precinct at 217-227 Boundary Street Coolangatta, a few streets back from Rainbow Bay.

Above ground level retail will be two interconnected buildings designed by Cottee Parker Architects totalling 96 apartments.

The main residential tower will have 72-two bedroom apartments and 19-three bedroom apartments across 12 levels.


Located at the front of the precinct will be the more boutique tower of just eight levels, home to five three bedroom apartments and one four bedroom penthouse.

The crowning glory of the development in Club Esprit, a rooftop residents only rooftop and wellness space in the main tower.

The rooftop features a lap pool with day beds and spa and a full wellness centre with gym, sauna, steam room, ice bath and treatment room.

There’s a relaxation lawn, a communal kitchen with large dining space, bar, and private dining terrace with barbecue facilities which can be hired. There’s also two communal barbecue facilities next to a playground lawn.

S&S director Paul Gedoun says he has a fundamental belief in the southern Gold Coast, off the back of the exceptional success in Flow and Awaken.

“Our vision for our projects looks to enhance the community feel, creating dwellings that are in line with our liveable luxury trademark,” Gedoun says.

“We expect that this project will provide a positive impact in the local community with the amalgamation of several sites providing a master-planned approach to the area.

“We always strive to deliver high quality owner-occupier residences in prime locations, respecting the sense of community ownership and the surrounding environment and we’ve taken that vision to a new level with Esprit.”

S&S have seen great success at their nearby Awaken Residences at Rainbow Bay, where their recent $8.15 million sale of the two-level penthouse was the highest apartment sale recorded south of Mermaid Beach.

Only four of Awaken’s nine expansive whole floor apartments now remain, each set to go for upwards of $4 million each after more than $20 million in sales in the first five apartments to predominantly local and interstate buyers.

Flow Residences was named Australia’s fastest selling beachfront apartments following their $74 million sell-out in late October with apartments selling at an average $3.5 million. Construction is underway and is due for completion in 2022.

Esprit Design Statement

In the design statement submitted to the Gold Coast City Council, Cottee Parker Architects call Esprit “a unique architectural offering at Rainbow Bay, that is directly inspired by the rock pools and formations this part of the world is known for.

“The proposed development at 217-227 Boundary Street is a premium one of a kind development, comprising of two interconnected buildings across two street frontages.


“Surrounded by dramatic natural beauty, Esprit draws upon its context to create a design that encapsulates the desirable sub-tropical lifestyle of the Gold Coast. Boundary Street The building’s design is inspired by nearby Snapper Rocks and the pockets of tidal pools formed over time.

“Tinted glazing emulates the tranquil reflective waters, separated by striated layers of rock, represented by the facade’s horizontal banding. These horizontal elements layer across the building facade to form balcony edges that grow and build at the edges.

“Within these sheltered edges, landscaping grows to provide a small garden space to each unit, just like the pocket parks that are scattered throughout Coolangatta.”


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Sammut Group Lodges $350m Cronulla Retail Precinct Plan


A bold $350-million plan to reinvigorate the northern end of Cronulla ’s CBD would transform a 5225sq m site into a mixed-use residential and retail precinct.

Sammut Group acquired the Northern Gateway properties between 3 and 23 Kingsway at Cronulla with venture capital partner Alceon Group.

Plans for initial demolition works plus a three-storey basement car park and two-storey retail and commercial podium have been lodged with the Sutherland Shire Council this month.

Ultimately the site would include residential, commercial and retail mixed-use developments, including 112 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 885sq m of commercial space, restaurants, shops and a flagship Harris Farm Markets store.

It supersedes plans for a 21-storey boutique hotel mooted for the site in 2018.

Sammut Group director Allen Sammut said the block of land between Croydon Street and Abel Place was one of the largest commercial sites in the southern Sydney beachside suburb.

“This is a game-changing development that will provide the catalyst for the future revitalisation and growth of the Cronulla CBD,” Sammut said.

“It’s a pivotal project for the area, particularly the many businesses in Cronulla that have been struggling in recent years.

“We’re extremely excited and eager to see our vision for this iconic gateway site come to life, ushering in a new era of optimism and opportunity for Cronulla.”

Harris Farm Markets co-chief executive Luke Harris said they were “thrilled” to launch their flagship store as part of the development.

“Harris Farm Markets has been looking for an appropriate location in the shire for many years… ,” he said.

“The store would be the largest Harris Farm store in Sydney and will introduce new food concepts we haven’t explored before.”

Sammut Group has an extensive portfolio and impressive reputation in the New South Wales market bolstered by the success of developments including Banc, Loft, Breeze and Drift in Cronulla and its surrounds.

Sammut Group is also awaiting approval for a development application for a commercial and hospitality precinct, PARC, in conjunction with Alceon Group, opposite Cronulla’s train station.


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