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Much more than just a train station: Meet Brisbane’s new ‘Grand Central

Brisbane's new Grand Central

A new “Grand Central” precinct to replace the demolition site at Brisbane’s Roma St station is set to boast a world-class sports and entertainment centre, public plazas and bars, and even a retirement home.

More details have emerged of Queensland’s biggest infrastructure venture, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, with the release of a proposed development scheme for the redeveloped Roma Street station complex.

The scheme answers questions on the design and operation of the new station, other uses associated with the complex and how it will incorporate the much-vaunted Brisbane Live entertainment arena.

The new complex, due to be completed around 2025, will be built around existing heritage places, new public spaces, and parkland, with the development scheme proposing some surprise elements like retirement and residential care facilities.

The Cross River Rail Authority is expecting that over the next 15 years there will be nearly 4200 new residents and more than 19,700 new workers within the 32 hectare Roma Street priority development area, bounded roughly by Wickham Terrace, North Quay and College Rd.

The scheme states that the area will act as a place of transition between the “tall towers” dominance of the CBD and “lower scale campus-style towers that interface to surrounding neighbourhoods and Roma Street Parkland”.

The project centres around a new underground station dubbed “Grand Central”, connecting passengers with existing suburban bus and rail networks and the Brisbane City Council’s Brisbane Metro, as well as regional and interstate bus and train services.

It envisages development across three precincts – a station plaza, a major sport and recreation facility (Brisbane Live) and a city centre transition precinct.

The Roma Street redevelopment focus will be on becoming the key arrival destination for the central CBD, and the western gateway to the city’s premier cultural, leisure
and entertainment venues.

It will also aim to improve the public realm and active transport connections to encourage pedestrian movement and connections and big upgrades to rail and bus interchanges, including a realignment of the Inner Northern Busway.

“Development in the Roma Street CRR PDA will better connect and unify the area with the city centre, Spring Hill, Petrie Terrace and South Brisbane neighbourhoods and associated facilities including Suncorp Stadium, Roma Street Parkland and the Queensland Cultural Centre,” the draft development scheme states.

“Active street frontages, a range of safe and inviting public spaces and permeable, accessible connections for pedestrians and cyclists will be delivered.”

The public will have until April 1 to make submissions on the proposed development scheme before the state government decides whether to approve it.

The scheme will then replace the existing interim land use plan currently governing the Roma Street PDA.


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Plans filed for “post-COVID” mixed-use apartment development in Toowong

“The concept of “Living on the Edge” is our answer…It embraces the design principles of “Buildings That Breathe” and reflects a new post-Covid lifestyle”

Toowong, the riverside inner-Brisbane suburb, is set for a contemporary mixed-use development.

Plans have been filed for two towers, dubbed The Edge at 80-88 Jephson Street Toowong, which will see 320 apartments built above a number of retail spaces on a podium level.

There will be a mix one two, three and four-bedroom apartments in Tower A, and the

The local architecture firm, Zenx Architects, designed the two 24 and 25-level towers with the focus of “Living on the Edge.”

“It embraces the design principles of “Buildings That Breathe” and reflects a new post-Covid lifestyle,” Zenx submission to the Brisbane City Council advised.

“We have explored various responses to new social challenges, with the aim of generating a design that reflects changing lifestyles and demands of residents.”

Zenx said the site provides an exciting opportunity for urban renewal excellence, being located in the central hub of Toowong and part of Brisbane City Council’s strategic catalyst site.

“Sitting between the Brisbane river and foothills of Mt Coot-tha, where the green meets the blue, the development is situated alongside all the natural & urban attributes that can support a healthy, connected and sophisticated lifestyle.”

There was a big focus for Zenx to encourage healthy indoor and outdoor living, entertainment, and working from home, as well as creating a positive social connection in the neighbourhood.

“The design of this development occurred through the Covid pandemic period, and will be one of first projects to deliver a considered response to the post-Covid era.

“We have explored various responses to new social challenges, with the aim of generating a design that reflects changing lifestyles and demands of residents.”

The level three podium roof terrace, shared between both buildings, will feature a 20 metre lap pool and adjoining play pool, a gym, indoor lounge, and a quiet room.

There will be further resident amenity on each rooftop, with landscaped gardens and lounge area, as well as ground level media room, lounge and function room.

The plans were filed by Po Seng Management.

No doubt they took some inspiration of the green laden The Aviary apartment development, currently being developed next door by State Development Corporation.


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Brisbane Development Projects


Brisbane is fast becoming a centre for premium grade commercial developments with a succession of new major development projects planned in and around the CBD.

From the $3.6-billion new waterfront casino to a new 1500-seat theatre in the city’s cultural centre—as well as a number of high-profile high-rise residential projects—the city is primed for major development and growth.

200 Turbot Street 

Mirvac plans to build a 29-storey, A-grade office tower across an amalgamated site fronting Turbot Street. The site holds frontages to Turbot Street, Wickham Terrace and Albert Street and, at 8900sq m, is one the largest in Brisbane’s CBD. The building will sit alongside the three-storey heritage-listed Dental Hospital Brisbane and College at 168 Turbot Street.


Address: 200 Turbot Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Mirvac
Architect: Blight Rayner
Building type: Commercial (66,000sq m)
Height: 29-storeys (95.7-metres)
Gross development value: $670-million
Status: Planning
Estimated completion: Unknown

Waterfront Place

Dexus is pushing ahead with plans for a $2.1-billion transformation of Eagle Street Pier and its Waterfront Place commercial precinct in Brisbane’s CBD. Plans include two new commercial towers, riverfront dining, public plazas, extended riverwalk and ferry terminal.


Address: 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Dexus
Architect: FJMT, Arkhefield
Building type: Commercial (75,000sq m and 60,000sq m)
Height: 49-storeys (161.7-metres), 43-storeys (141.9-metres)
Gross development value: $2.1 billion
Status: Approved
Estimated completion: 2026 (Stage One)

Queens Wharf

Brisbane’s $3.6-billion Queen’s Wharf development—which has taken more than a significant footprint of the CBD—is quickly taking shape. The project, the largest private sector development in Queensland, is spread over 12ha of land and 15.3ha of water. The development, earmarked for completion by late 2022, will offer four luxury hotels, 2000 residential apartments and a casino.


Address: Queens Wharf, George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Destination Brisbane Consortium (The Star Group, Far East Consortium, Chow Tai Fook)
Architect: Cottee Parker
Building type: Casino (390,000sq m), Hotel (1100 guest rooms), Residential (2000 apartments)
Height: 70-storeys (231.1-metres), 58-storeys (190-metres), 54-storeys (180-metres), 30-storeys (101-metres), 30-storeys (101-metres),
Gross development value: $3.6 billion
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2022

80 Ann Street

Mirvac’s commercial project, spanning an entire block, will reach 35-storeys and offer 60,000sq m of net lettable area across some of Brisbane CBD’s largest floor plates at 2200 square metres. Suncorp will anchor the tower, taking 66 per cent of the total space. Mirvac has also closed a deal to build the tower with M&G Real Estate, which will own a half stake of the building.


Address: 80 Ann Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Mirvac
Architect: Woods Bagot
Building type: Commercial (60,000sq m)
Height: 35-storey (119-metres)
Gross development value: $836 million
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2022

205 North Quay

Super fund developer Cbus Property, in conjunction with its local partners Nielson Properties and the Raniga family, is moving ahead with plans for a $600-million office tower in Brisbane’s fast-growing North Quarter precinct. The A-grade office tower, approved in February for a 3000sq m riverfront corner site, created from the amalgamation of properties at 205 North Quay and 30 Herschel Street.


Address: 205 North Quay, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Cbus Property
Architect: Hassell, REX, Richards and Spence
Building type: Commercial (50,000sq m)
Height: 37-storeys (122.1-metres)
Gross development value: $600 million
Status: Approved
Estimated completion: Unknown

19 Eagle Terrace

Morris Property Group has unveiled plans for a $250-million office tower in Brisbane’s North Quarter precinct. It is the latest office project for the developer, which has also commenced construction on the 26-storey Australian Taxation Office headquarters at 152 Wharf Street.


Address: 19 Eagle Terrace, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Morris Property Group
Architect: Unknown
Building type: Commercial (19,200sq m)
Height: 24-storey (79.2-metres)
Gross development value: $250 million
Status: Planning
Estimated completion: Unknown

No.1 Brisbane

Fund manager Charter Fund manager Charter Hall is pushing ahead with a major Brisbane development, with approved plans for a 35-storey office tower at the top of Queen Street. Earlier this year, the developer listed the three separate CBD titles but rather than realising their investment after securing development approval for the site the backers will now stay in the project as it readies to launch in 2023.


Address: 60 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Charter Hall
Architect: Blight Rayner
Building type: Commercial (24,500sq m), Retail (2150sq m)
Height: 35-storeys (115-metres)
Gross development value: Unknown
Status: Approved
Estimated completion: Unknown

251 Wickham Street 

Brisbane-based developer Cornerstone has plans before the council for a major commercial project in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The development is slated for a 1357sq m site between 251 to 253 Wickham Street, together with part of 47 Warner Street, currently occupied by a derelict and dilapidated building.


Address: 251 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006
Developer: Cornerstone Group, Pidson Investments
Architect: Bureau Proberts
Building type: Commercial (14,550sq m), Retail (90sq m)
Height: 28-storeys (123.4-metres)
Gross development value: Unknown
Status: Planning
Estimated completion: Unknown

895 Ann Street


Address: 895 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006
Developer: DWS, Consolidated Properties Group
Architect: John Wardle Architects
Building type: Commercial (24,000sq m)
Height: 15-storeys (49.5-metres)
Gross development value: $260 million
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2023

360 Queen Street

Charter Hall and Investa Commercial Property Fund’s Queen Street tower is quickly taking shape. The joint venture acquired the 2150sq m site in June, 2017 for $53.75 million. The project will deliver 45,000sq m of A-grade office space, a publicly accessible retail component within its podium, childcare centre, supermarket, and indoor sport and recreation centre.


▲ The development will feature vibrant sky parks at different levels, a public podium, retail marketplace, supermarket, indoor sport and recreation, child care facilities and more.

Address: 360 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Charter Hall, Investa
Architect: Blight Rayner
Building type: Commercial (45,000sq m)
Height: 28-storeys (92-metres)
Gross development value: $650 million
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2023

Albion Exchange 

Geon Property will soon break ground on the first stage of its $750-million residential project in Brisbane’s inner north, after winning approval for the two-tower mixed-use development earlier this year. The transit-oriented development, which will be delivered over 15 years, will revitalise a 4900sq m state government-owned development site adjacent to the existing Albion train station.


▲ The first stage of the Albion Exchange development was given the green light from Brisbane City Council in early 2020.

Address: Albion Train Station, Albion, QLD 4010
Developer: Geon Property
Architect: Hames Sharley
Building type: Residential (253 apartments), Transport, Retail,
Height: 20-storey (66-metres), 19-storey (62.7-metres)
Gross development value: $750-million
Status: Approved
Estimated completion: 2035 (10-stages)

443 Queen Street 

Cbus Property’s $375-million residential tower, consisting of 264 apartments, will include a private dining room, catering kitchen, outdoor lounge cabanas, a gymnasium and 25m pool perched on the river’s edge. The building was recently awarded a 6 Star Green Star design rating by the Green Building Council of Australia, the first residential building in Australia to be recognised with this rating.


▲ Amenities for residents include a private dining room, catering kitchen, outdoor lounge cabanas, a gymnasium and 25-metre pool perched on the river’s edge.

Address: 443 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Cbus Property
Architect: WOHA Architects, Architectus
Building type: Residential (264 apartments)
Height: 47-storey (155-metres)
Gross development value: $375-million
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2021


The state government-funded New Performing Arts Venue (NPAV), a new $150-million theatre, is currently being built as part of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). The 1500-seat theatre will make the QPAC precinct the largest performing arts centre in Australia and is expected to deliver capacity for an extra 260 performances annually.


▲ More than $73 million in contracts have been awarded to local industries, utilising local consultancies, sub-contractors and Queensland products to build the new theatre.

Address: Corner of Grey and Russell Street, South Brisbane, QLD 4101
Developer: Queensland Government
Architect: Snøhetta, Blight Rayner
Building type: Theatre (1500-seats)
Height: 6-storeys (19.8-metres)
Gross development value: $150 million
Status: Under construction
Estimated completion: 2022

44 Roma Street 

Plans for a 26-storey slimline hotel in the Brisbane CBD just outside the Roma Street priority development area are under assessment. The 44 Roma Street application envisages a double-storey glass entrance to the tower, which has a ground floor foyer, cafe and lounge bar leading up to 212 hotel suites


▲ The hotel would include 212 hotel suites along with a ground floor restaurant and bar.

Address: 44 Roma Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Developer: Contal Properties
Architect: Buchan
Building type: Hotel (212-guest rooms)
Height: 26-storey (85.8-metres)
Gross development value: Unknown
Status: Planning
Estimated completion: Unknown

58 Morgan Street 

The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane has approval to build a commercial building alongside St Patrick’s Church in Fortitude Valley. Brisbane City Council approved the mixed use building, which includes function space, a rooftop garden and public realm as well as two basement levels of parking on the site of the state-heritage-listed St Patrick’s Church at 58 Morgan Street.


▲ The eight-storey tower features a communal rooftop garden with views to the gothic church below and Brisbane’s CBD.



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Top tips for bidding in a hot property auction market

property auction market

The odds of being the successful bidder at a property auction can be improved by being well-informed and having a strategy, rather than just showing up and hoping for the best.

Auctions listings in Sydney and Melbourne are running at about twice the levels of 12 months ago, after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and as owners rush to bring their properties to market while there is still price momentum and before the holiday season starts.

A combination of seasonal factors and pandemic lockdowns saw the number of auctions tumble in July and August, before hitting a low in early September. Since then, listing volumes have been increasing by about 10 per cent a week across both major capital cities.

For the week to last Sunday, Sydney held 1577 auctions – the second busiest week on record – and Melbourne held 1891, its best week since late March, figures from CoreLogic show.

Preparing for an auction

Arjun Paliwal, the founder and head of research of buyer’s agency InvestorKit, says auction bidders need to monitor the most recent property sales until the time of the auction, as prices will have likely moved higher than they were just a couple of months ago.

“To minimise getting swept up in the action and paying more than initially planned, have a shortlist of several properties to fall back on,” Paliwal says.

“Not having all your eggs in one basket will mean you’re less likely to make a regretful over-purchase [by paying too much],” he says.

Cate Bakos, a buyer’s agent and the president of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association, says some homebuyers may have to lower their expectations in a hot property market.

You should be prepared to compromise on cosmetic elements, but never light, orientation or location, she says. Buyers need to prioritise features, such as floor plan. “It’s the features of a property that you can’t change that matter most,” Bakos says.

“If a home has good bones and is structurally sound, an ugly duckling might be worth a second look, particularly if the neighbourhood is a good fit,” she says.

Communication is key

Bakos says it is good to get to know a property’s selling agent and the auctioneer as, if it appears that you have a good rapport with them, it can be intimidating to other bidders.

“It is also interesting how attire can create an image. Dressing a bit more formally can signal to other bidders that you can afford to pay a bit more,” she says.

And it is probably better not to have anyone standing with you who looks nervous, she says.

Patrick Bright, buyer’s agent at EPS Property, says bidders need set a clear limit on what they are prepared to pay before an auction and not get caught up in the emotion of the moment.

“Bids should be made with confidence and try to get a good view of the auctioneer, the agent and the other bidders, so that you can see what is going on,” he says.

Bright says if you are “nervous type,” consider getting help from a third party, such as a buyer’s agent or a trusted friend or family member who is experienced at auctions, to bid on your behalf.

Don’t feel rushed

It is important not to feel that if you miss out at an auction that it is the end of the world.

There are more auctions now and clearance rates are falling, creating more opportunities to buy, CoreLogic figures shows. That also means properties are likely to be on the market for longer, helping to tip the balance towards patient buyers.

Louis Christopher, founder of SQM Research, is expecting capital city home prices to peak in the first half of next year, with possible price falls as early as mid-2022.

He expects a catalyst for the falls to be further intervention by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to restrict home lending.

The regulator has forced banks to use more cautious interest rate assumptions when assessing new home loan customers. The change is expected to reduce new customers’ borrowing capacity by about 5 per cent.


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