In a bid to ensure the longevity of the airport, this Gold Coast Airport expansion will increase capacity and secure the airport’s place in the future of aviation. Carl Bruhn, Queensland Airports Limited Executive General Manager Property and Infrastructure, explains more.
What impact will the terminal expansion have on passenger experience?
Work is now underway on the redevelopment of Gold Coast Airport, which will transform the gateway to the Gold Coast and northern NSW and improve the experience for our passengers. The AU$200 million southern terminal expansion will double the footprint of the existing facility, delivering four aerobridges, additional retail space and new boarding, departure lounge, baggage handling and border-control facilities.
Importantly, the project will address current capacity issues while paving the way for future passenger growth. Currently, about 6.5 million passengers pass through Gold Coast Airport every year, with that figure expected to more than double by 2037.
Construction of a new Rydges-branded hotel – the first hotel on site at Gold Coast Airport – has also begun, which will improve the offer and experience for passengers in the future. The hotel is on track to be delivered by mid-2020, while the new southern terminal is scheduled to open in mid-2021. Once that is complete, the existing terminal will be redeveloped.
What is your favourite feature of the development?
The new terminal will see the provision of four aerobridges, which have long been called for by our passengers and we are excited to deliver. We are also pleased with the innovative use of space in the new terminal, which will allow us to switch between international services – the main operations serviced in the new terminal – and domestic services. This will be done based on demand, using a specially-designed swing gate system.
Have you come up against any challenges?
The number one challenge for us throughout this project has been to ensure the existing terminal is able to operate safely and efficiently during construction. One of our most complex operational challenges has been to ensure our luggage tugs are able to access our existing baggage handling room in the terminal without interruption. This is difficult given the new terminal is being built directly over the entry to the existing baggage handling area. To overcome this, our team has devised a plan to create a tunnelled pathway for the tugs, incorporating a swing-gate system controlled by designated operators, to ensure the separation of the site. This will include everything from lighting, fire detection and ventilation to the security requirements needed to achieve required approvals, while maintaining a safe working environment. The two-way tunnel will be approximately 100m in length once complete and will be incorporated into the design of the new terminal.
How have you made sure the expansion fits within your environmental policy?
Gold Coast Airport’s environmental policy was a key focus during our planning on the Southern Terminal Expansion. This policy is addressed through the implementation of GCA’s Environment Management System. Key components of this system include addressing construction and ongoing impacts on the natural environment and any sustainability considerations. Under this framework, a project-specific Construction and Environment Management Plan was developed to manage these risks. Sustainability considerations also formed a key component of the design, including lighting controls and energy-efficient chillers.
Furthermore, our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by the fact Gold Coast Airport’s parent company, Queensland Airports Limited, recently became one of the first Australian airport groups to secure sustainability-linked bank loan to help fund the terminal expansion. These loans are based on our carbon accreditation and commitment to carbon-emission reduction across all operations at the airport.
What is the best way you have increased capacity at the airport?
As one of Australia’s fastest-growing airports, Gold Coast Airport is faced with an ever-increasing demand for aircraft parking. The airport’s existing apron – constructed in 1979 for since-decommissioned aircraft types – was at risk of becoming inefficient for the busy aviation hub. With passenger numbers growing, a total apron reconfiguration was necessary prior to the start of construction of the new terminal. This project saw aircraft stands reconfigured to a Multiple Aircraft Ramp System (MARS) to create more parking space, and the installation of nearly one kilometre of jet fuel pipeline beneath the active apron.
The Joint User Hydrant Infrastructure (JUHI) expansion project was delivered between June 2017 and November 2018 by Gold Coast Airport and Caltex, with the reconfiguration delivering four additional Code C (narrow body) or three Code E (wide body) aircraft positions, taking the airport’s capacity to 19 parking stands once the terminal expansion is complete. This paves the way for expanded capacity into the future.
In the next few years, more than $550 million is being invested across the Queensland Airports Limited group and Carl Bruhn is leading the team that will deliver the extensive capital program. Bruhn is Queensland Airports Limited Executive General Manager Property and Infrastructure and is responsible for overseeing development activity at Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports. His team will deliver a large programme of works across the group in coming years, including the $200 million Southern Terminal Expansion and a $50 million airport hotel underway at Gold Coast Airport. An expert in urban development, Bruhn is also a member of the Gold Coast Light Rail Business Advisory Group and a Fellow of the Urban Development Institute of Australia. He spent a number of years with Lendlease as General Manager Town Centres and Senior Project Director on the Varsity Lakes project.
Chinese buyers in Australia: Here for holidays and here to buy property
Chinese buyers have Australian property set firmly in their sights again, with a new survey revealing nearly a third of Chinese tourists plan to shop for property while they’re on holiday.
Property portal Juwai’s new survey of Chinese consumers found that 27 per cent of mainland Chinese tourists planned to look at properties over the next year as part of their travels, and that Australia was their No.1 destination to go shopping.
In Juwai’s list of top Australian destinations by inquiry, Brisbane came in third and the Gold Coast fourth, after Melbourne and Sydney.
Juwai spokesperson Dave Platter said demand for Gold Coast real estate in particular was likely to increase as buyers continued to return to the Australian property market.
“On the Gold Coast in particular, in both of the past two quarters, Chinese buyer inquiries have gone up double digits,” he said.
“It’s got relatively inexpensive prices for what you get, and there so much infrastructure and investment going in,” Mr Platter said, noting that the new public transport connections held particular appeal. “And it’s easy to get to from China.”
Of the Chinese consumers surveyed, 49 per cent were looking to travel during the school holidays in July and August, 42 per cent were looking at National Day Golden Week in October, and 29 per cent during Chinese New Year Golden Week in February.
While the numbers of buyers coming from China had been falling since 2016, internal research showed that it had recently flattened out and was showing signs of increasing again.
Mr Platter added that for Queensland especially, demand was quite seasonal, with a lot of buyers shopping for properties while they were on holiday.
“They’re really looking, and they might come back to purchase,” he said. “But we hear all the time about buyers who show up and buy.”
“A lot of the agents will rent out a van and drive families around, and introduce them to the local highlights.”
Mr Platter said these tourist buyers were primarily looking at new developments, in part because of the Foreign Investment Review Board’s guidelines around non-residents buying resident property.
New builds were particularly appealing to Chinese buyers, he added, and many had already made good money from their investments in newly-built properties at home.
He said that as far as they could see, concerns about the build quality of off-the-plan purchases didn’t seem to be a big deterrent.
“It just reinforces the importance of buying from a good developer,” Mr Platter said.
Buyers preferred firms who had longer track record of development, and Mr Platter added that some of the biggest developers in Australia came from China, and so were already known to them.
He cited Australia’s quality of life, development and commercial ties with Asia as reasons it was a popular destination, as well as the power of education.
“Australia attracts a very large number of Chinese students,” he said. “Buying for a student who is going to be studying here is one of the most cited motivations among our buyers.”
Agent Val Parkin of Alex Phillis Real Estate in Paradise Point said he was getting quite a lot of inquiries from foreign buyers on his FIRB-approved apartment listings.
“I would say 50 per cent,” he said. “It has picked up for sure. We actually sold five already in the past month.”
He said the FIRB approval was big factor for foreign buyers and those properties currently offered a 10 per cent return, which made them appealing to investors.
“We advertise a lot on social media – through those channels,” he said.
Previous Juwai research had found an 50 per cent increase in the first half of 2019 – compared to the first half of 2018 – of inquiries from buyers looking for retirement properties, with the site now adding a specific retirement portal to their search engine.
Three Gold Coast Developers Partner for Four Tower Project
A consortium of Gold Coast developers has set in motion plans to transform an empty site in Varsity Lakes into a giant four-tower complex.
The proposed development has been put forward as a joint venture between Homecorp, Sunland Group and Condev Construction, three of the Gold Coast’s largest property developers.
The 12,916sq m site, which is owned by Sunland, is located between 2-6 Capital Court in Varsity Lakes and will be developed in two stages with two towers delivered in each.
The four tower project, with towers ranging between nine and ten storeys, will comprise 388 units with 99 units each across three of the towers, with the fourth having 89.
The majority will be two bedroom apartments with the rest having a single bedroom.
According to the plans there will be 437 car parks and 164 bicycle parks located inside a three-level basement, as well as 180sq m of commercial and retail tenancies.
Homecorp is led by businessman Ron Bakir has become a major player in the Queensland housing market in a relatively short period.
The company’s construction arm Homecorp Constructions is now ranked the 11th largest builder in the state and among the top three builders based on the Gold Coast.
Sunland is led by managing director Sahba Abedian.
The group has 13 active projects along Australia’s east coast and holds a $3 billion portfolio comprising 4,292 residential homes, urban land lots, multi-storey apartments, and an emerging retail and commercial portfolio.
The company’s Gold Coast projects include the 44-storey 272 Hedges Avenue high-rise residential development in Mermaid Beach and the boutique Magnoli Apartments mid-rise development in Palm Beach
Sunland also recently launched construction of The Lanes development on a 42 hectare site in Clear Island Waters.
Apartment sales uptick
Apartment sales increased to nine per cent of available stock in the second quarter of 2019, up from seven per cent in the previous quarter, according to planning and advisory firm Urbis.
On the Gold Coast, premium apartments typically attracting retirees and people seeking a sea change drove up the average sales price while foreign investors have returned to the market accounting for between 22 and 26 per cent of sales.
Off-the-plan apartment sales on the Gold Coast jumped in the recent quarter to be some 45 per cent higher than the prior quarter.
There were 231 new apartment sales recorded from January to March with two-bedroom, two-bathroom pads made up 65 per cent of sales.
The southern beaches precinct, which stretched from Mermaid Beach to Tweed Heads, had more than 60 per cent of sales for the quarter – the highest level recorded for the area in the past five years.
The national weighted average was $727,333, while the Gold Coast recorded its highest ever figure of $875,817.
Beachfront site opens Gold Coast up to rival development
After three-and-a-half years of negotiations a property developer has amalgamated a large 8400-square-metre beachfront site on the Surfers Paradise strip of the Gold Coast next door to a $1 billion development under construction.
The new site on Old Burleigh Road is directly to the north of Jewel, which has been touted as Australia’s largest beachfront mixed-use development and is under construction by Yuhu Group.
Chinese developer Ridong Group acquired the landmark 1.13 hectare Pacific Beach development site at Surfers Paradise for about $81 million in 2009 and then partnered with property powerhouse Dalian Wanda to develop the towers. Last year Sydney developer Yuhu Group acquired Dalian Wanda’s Australian assets for $1.13 billion, including the Gold Coast development, and recently acquired a 1264-square-metre site to the south.
This latest development site to the north of Jewel, which was amassed by well known Gold Coast property identity Craig Perry, comprises the 21-unit “Mykonos”, 35-unit “Paros on the Beach”, a beachfront duplex and two smaller complexes with four apartments each. In total it includes 66 units and two management rights contracts.
The site covers 8402 square metres and 77 metres of absolute beach frontage.
Mr Perry said his team was exploring the highest and best use for the land.
“The site has been secured by call option contracts while this process is being undertaken. Its sheer size requires us to seek to partner with a funder or developer capable of undertaking a project of this magnitude,” Mr Perry said.
The site is in an area zoned for high density with the possibility of developing a residential or hotel tower with unlimited height restrictions under the Gold Coast City Plan.
Mr Perry would not be drawn on a price, saying it would be disclosed privately to potential partners.
“This is the only beachfront development site of this scale available on the Gold Coast.
“We are looking for a funder or developer that brings value to the table, either as economical or brand value,” Mr Perry added.
For several years Mr Perry, as managing director of Breakwater Group, has also been pursuing the development of a $4.4 billion cruise ship terminal at the Spit, which has been rejected.
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