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It will be rare to find such a picturesque residential setting so close to the city –  ‘The Highgate.’

Tree roots wrapped cathedral-like around a staircase, wildlife glimpsedBrisbane Investor, Property Investment, Investors, Invest Brisbane, Rental Property, investment properties, property market, The Highgate, apartments through parted reeds, a bird soaring and water babbling … such is the imaginative vision informing one of Brisbane’s most exciting inner-city landscape projects.

But on such a highly anticipated development as The Highgate – with its up close city views, an adjacent heritage park and apartments starting at $1.5 million – it seems only right that landscape architect Steve Dunn has been able to unleash something special.

The building will take up just 20 per cent of the 4900sq m site on Dornoch Terrace, Highgate Hill, leaving a broad canvas for Mr Dunn to get busy on.

With such an emphasis on the creation of a unique high-end development, including interiors by renowned designer Blainey North and kitchens by celebrated chef Neil Perry, would the aim outside be to match the wow factor of the building or complement it?

“The overarching design is more about having an empathy for the typography and the people who are using it, and making sure that the setting of the building is correct,” Mr Dunn said.

“With this one I actually started with my kind of briefing statement, starting with some sketches,” he said, unrolling the originals – a set of stunning hand-drawn images in blue ink on white paper.

Mr Dunn explained that the artwork described the experiences a person might have on the site.

“So, this one’s about the topography and the experience of the bird soaring … and this is about the rolling nature of bubbles and water, and then this one’s about the canopy and the cover of the tree, a walkway and a balustrade and how the tree kind of envelopes that experience,” he said.

The most elaborate of the sketches depicts a walking track with reeds, a pond and, on the other side, a dingo.

“It’s about that notion of a wild experience, that voyager discovery,” he said. “You get to somewhere, you part the reeds and you see something not expected. So these three little artworks I did first and then started to design the landscape afterwards.”

While future residents can rest assured there won’t be dingos in their front yard, they will find leafy pockets and walkways, even a secret garden and large established fig trees that are being retained.

“It’ll feel like a very, very generous back yard,” Mr Dunn said. “It’ll feel like something that you can’t get on an 800sq m block, because it’s just so generous.

“You just don’t get this on other projects. You don’t get the park adjacent, you don’t get elevated gardens, you don’t get a really large pool, or a secret garden … you don’t get all the different pockets of amenity.”

One element Mr Dunn is looking forward to is the cathedral-like staircase underneath a fig tree.

“Once that comes together I think that’ll be gorgeous,” he said.

“Because there’s such a large change in level between the upper terrace and the pool terrace, they’re connected with a really generous staircase and the staircase will have a series of poles that will go up to the branches of the fig tree.

“So, what’ll happen over time is the fig tree will send down aerial roots down those poles and eventually you’ll end up with a cathedral fig around this space. The tree will literally wrap itself around that staircase over time.

“You won’t see the end result for another 20 or 30 years. It’ll happen.’’

Construction on The Highgate is expected to start in December, a fast-tracked start date following $50 million in apartment sales in just four weeks.


Original article published at by Wendy Hughes, The Courier Mail 20/9/2014


Honeycombes Secures Funds for Ferny Grove Village


Queensland developer Honeycombes Property Group has unveiled plans for a $140 million mixed-use development at Ferny Grove train station, in Brisbane’s north-western suburbs.

Honeycombes, in partnership with Melbourne-based real estate financier MaxCap, will deliver Ferny Grove Central, a 12,000sq m neighbourhood village and an 82 apartment residential building, dubbed The Fernery.

Honeycombes, led by Peter and Vanessa Honeycombe, secured the development rights to the site in 2017 following a competitive tender process run by the Queensland government.

“We have already received a high amount of unprecedented interest from the local market, highlighting the level of demand for both residential apartments and retail opportunities,” Honeycombes managing director Peter Honeycombe said.

The joint venture partners are expecting to announce a number of major tenants in coming months with a mix of high-profile national retailers including supermarkets, fitness centres, child-care and cinema providers expected to be secured on long-term leases.

Honeycombes is also in the final stages of securing a head contractor for the project with construction set to commence shortly.


▲ This project is being built on the 2.6-hectare car park site directly adjoining the rail and bus interchange at Ferny Grove station.

“We have built a very strong relationship with the Queensland state government during the formation of the development and will continue to be committed to the delivery of the transit oriented development for the residence of Ferny Grove,” Honeycombes said.

“Without the government’s contribution of $9 million and the federal government’s $11 million in funding contributions for additional park ‘n’ ride spaces planned for the project could not have been achieved.”

The development adds to Honeycombes development portfolio which totals over $2 billion in delivered projects over the last 25 years.

Non-bank lender MaxCap has previously partnered with Honeycombes, providing debt funding to its $252 million Coorparoo Square development in Brisbane in 2015.

Last year, MaxCap partnered with Melbourne developer Troon Group on several commercial projects including the development of a new 3000sq m BMW car dealership in Berwick for Jowett Motor Group in the city’s south-east and an office redevelopment in Mont Albert.

It has also provided the construction facility for JD Group’s $250 million residential development in the city’s inner-eastern suburb of Hawthorn.

Funding has also been agreed for a $120 million 20-storey mixed-use residential building in South Melbourne being developed by Milbex Group.


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Destination Consortium Amends Queen’s Wharf Plans

The final design for Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf development has taken another turn with amended plans put forward calling for changes in the mega project’s residential precinct.

The $3.6-billion development—which has taken a significant footprint of the CBD—is well under way, with more than 5000 tonnes of steel, 41,000 cubic metres of concrete and 400,000 cubic metres of fill delivered so far.

The northern riverfront development will feature a new casino, the overhaul of heritage buildings, five new hotels with more than 1000 guest rooms, around 50 restaurants and a major retail precinct.

Proposed amendments to the original application have now been put forward by Destination Brisbane Consortium—which includes the Star group, developers Far East Consortium and Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook.

The alterations will affect the project’s residential quarter and predominantly involve changing the land usage, mix and designs of towers five and six.

Tower one is a 43-storey, 667 apartment residential project, while towers two and three—located below the Arc Skydeck—will include the development’s casino and hotels.

Tower four will be the project’s tallest residential tower at 200m while the 49-storey tower five and 45-storey tower six—which were originally intended to be used hotel and residential operations—will now be subject to changes.

Queen’s Wharf

▲ Amended designs have called for a shorter format to a now commercial building six, set to sit alongside tower five which is mixed-use with commercial and retail space.

The new round of changes, submitted to Economic Development Queensland, now call for tower five and six—which were previously residential in nature—to be remixed to include commercial floor space.

Tower five is now proposed to be mixed-use and could contain commercial or retail space on the lower levels with residential in the mid and high-rise sections of the building.

Tower six opposite Parliament House, which has been reduced in size, will now become a commercial-only building.

The Cottee Parker-designed building will sit next to Cbus Property’s 1 William Street, a 76,000sq m commercial tower currently occupied by the Queensland government, which was completed in 2016.

The push to diversify the hotel and casino development by adding new A-grade commercial elements comes as landlords scramble to reposition their CBD buildings to bring workers back to the city.

The Queensland capital’s vacancy rate grew to 13.6 per cent last month from 12.9 per cent in July, with most of the increase coming from reduced tenant demand during the second half of a pandemic-hit year.

Around 44,000sq m of new space is due to come online this year and a further 82,000sq m in 2022, adding to the pressure on a market that in the past six months suffered its lowest net absorption of space since January 2018.

The development has reached the fifth level of the 172-metre concrete structure known as a “diaphragm wall”, currently sitting around 20m above the Riverside Expressway.

Destination Brisbane Consortium project director Simon Crooks said despite ongoing amendments due to the possibility of shifting market conditions, the “integrated resort” was quickly taking shape.

“This time next year towers two and three, the dual tower for The Star Grand hotel, will be topping out at around 100m, meaning Queen’s Wharf they will be sitting prominently alongside and above the Riverside expressway,” he said.

“When complete, the Dorsett and Rosewood tower, which sits behind the Printery Building between George and William streets, will be around 200m and is expected to peak around mid-2022.

“And finally, topping out at 240-metres, Queen’s Wharf Residences is expected to reach full height in about two years, well after the hotel towers top-out.”

Early works for construction of the Neville Bonner pedestrian bridge began in March last year on South Bank and will be complete in time for the integrated resort development opening in late-2022.


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New team behind ‘fundamental rethink’ of Brisbane’s mega-city planning


A specialist team will be created to ensure land stretching between Tweed Heads and Noosa is able to keep pace with population growth and housing demand.

South-east Queensland’s “200-kilometre city” is predicted to grow by 1.5 million to 5 million in 20 years, making it about the same population as Sydney today.

An extra 794,000 new homes will be needed to accommodate the boom, as the lines between Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine coasts continue to blur.

The new planning team set up by the state government will be announced by Deputy Premier Steven Miles on Wednesday to ensure new developments can manage the surge in new residents.

“Queenslanders want to know that when they’re ready to buy their first home, they will be able to do so without being priced out of the market,” Mr Miles said.

“They want to know that when they’ve retired and they’re looking to downsize to a more manageable property, that they’ll be able to without needing to move very far away.

“And in between those stages in life they may want a family home with a big backyard.”

Mr Miles said, from 2019 to 2020, there had been a 200 per cent increase in net migration from cities to regional areas.

“We’ve also seen a 23 per cent increase in the use of our national parks and green spaces,” he said.

“This must result in a fundamental rethink of our approach to infrastructure planning and delivery.”

Mr Miles said the team’s first task would be to choose a pilot site for a new growth area by the end of the month.

“The pilot site identified will be an example of how local and state governments and the private sector can work together to plan for better communities,” he said.

“The team will also work to bring land in the under-utilised urban footprint to market sooner.

“Queensland’s population is booming, and I want to ensure our government and local councils can keep up with the increase in demand for land, housing and the supporting infrastructure that comes with it.”

The new Growth Areas Delivery team, will be an arm of state government agency Economic Development Queensland.



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