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Residents in path of planned Coomera Connector say they have been ‘left in the dark’


Residents living in the path of south-east Queensland’s future Coomera Connector say they feel trapped in limbo as they wait for their properties to be bulldozed for the major road project.

The new 45-kilometre corridor will link Logan to the northern Gold Coast, offering an alternative to the congested M1.

Construction of the first stage of the project — from Nerang to Coomera — will begin later this year, while the second phase — from Coomera to Loganholme — is some years away.

Some residents along that route say they have been told their homes will be demolished but they do not know when.

“I feel a bit cheated … not being communicated to makes you think you’re not going to get treated fairly,” Alberton resident Peter Stephens said.

Mr Stephens built his family home more than a decade ago on a nine-acre block on the banks of the Albert River.

In 2019, he received notice from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) that his land was required to build the road.

Since then, Mr Stephens said he had been “left in the dark” about the project and had received no time frame for when his property would be bulldozed.

“Even an indication to say you’ve got five years, or you’ve got 10 years, nothing,” he said.

Mr Stephen’s house is one of 28 properties in Eagleby, Stapylton and Alberton that will be demolished to make way for the road. Another 117 privately owned properties will be at least partially resumed.

Mr Stephens said the wait for answers was creating uncertainty for his young daughter.

“My daughter is autistic, she’s eight and she struggles a lot at school academically,” he said.

“I see this place here as a learning environment for her.

“Everything we’ve built, the lifestyle we have … everything will have to be replaced.”


The Queensland government has been transparent about the planned road, Transport Minister Mark Bailey says.(ABC News: Lily Nothling)

Road ‘desperately needed’

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said a business case for the northern route would be prepared “over the next year or two” to determine when land resumptions would begin.

“For a piece of infrastructure this large, that’s actually a relatively modest number of properties required,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are never going to achieve 100 per cent support for any particular option. When you build big infrastructure, there’s going to be a diversity of views.”

Mr Bailey said the department had been transparent and was committed to ongoing community consultation throughout various stages of the project.

“This is a desperately needed road,” he said.

“Northern Gold Coast suburbs are some of the fastest growing suburbs in the whole nation, let alone the state.”

Eagleby cane farmer Mick Herse said the road would claim about seven hectares of his land, which his family had owned for more than 150 years.

“It will take away our only fresh water supply,” Mr Herse said.

“It will surround the property with highway in every direction.”

Mr Herse said his questions to transport officials had gone unanswered for more than two years.

“I’m properly pissed,” he said.

“You’re going to take something away from everybody. It’s just nobody knows when, why or for how much

Some residents also fear the gazetted road corridor will devastate the ecologically significant Eagleby Wetlands.

“It’s a very extensive complex – it’s host to close to 300 bird varieties, some of them migratory,” Marilyn Goodwin from the Eagleby Community and Wetlands Group said.

“This [road] would effectively lock all of the residents of Eagleby, around 14,000 people, in a horseshoe of noise, sound and pollution — as well as losing this beautiful green space.”

The state government says the chosen route will have the smallest footprint on homes and the environment, but Ms Goodwin says her group will continue to advocate for alternative options.

“It’s unfair, it’s not transparent and it doesn’t take any of the community interests into account,” she said.


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Plans for 12-Storey Tower on Gold Coast ‘Spine’


Plans for a 12-storey mixed use retail and residential tower in the heart of a low-rise Gold Coast beach suburb have been lodged with the Gold Coast City Council.

Gold Coast developer Daniel Veitch has unveiled plans for The Oxley, a two-storey arched retail podium with an eight-storey residential unit tower on top, taking style inspiration from the Gold Coast’s iconic Pink Poodle Hotel, which was demolished in 2004.

It would be the second stage of the Nobby Beach retail rejuvenation, set on a 2406sq m site next to George Manettas’ The Frederick, which is a complementary design.

The towers would be four-times higher than the three-storey, or 15m high, allowance under current zoning.

The development would include 88 dwellings, retail, and food and drink outlets, according to the BDA Architecture plans for the “subtropical” mixed-use development.


▲ The Oxley takes style inspiration from some of the Gold Coast’s most iconic architecture. Image: BDA Architecture 

The block fronts the Gold Coast Highway and Lavarack Road at Nobby Beach, and would be within walking distance from the light rail station that is due to be completed at the end of 2024.

According to the development application the site is a “prime opportunity to provide high quality residential and short term accommodation” for the Nobby Beach area.

“This area is becoming an emerging ‘village’ destination with its commercial, retail and food and beverage opportunities,” the report stated.

“The design proposal seeks to create a new integrated development that enhances and activates the boutique retail village that offers food and beverage, office, medical, boutique retail outlets and dining opportunities with the proposed residential apartments above.”

According to BDA Architecture, the development would “respectfully build up the residential density along the Future Light Rail spine”.

Speaking at The Urban Developer’s In Focus: Gold Coast webinar last week, Urbis director Matthew Schneider said the Gold Coast was made up of a series of villages that would be connected by intensive development along the light rail spine.

“The Light Rail Corridor comes in with a mandate for transformational change including scale of development—much more urban,” Schneider said.

“The hitting zones for this are Mermaid, Nobby Beach, Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, and now to Kirra Beach and Coolangatta.

“Anywhere where that transformational change is happening off the back of infrastructure is where those [development] hot spots are.”


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Construction Costs Temper Gold Coast Apartment Boom

Construction Costs

Red-hot demand is pushing material supply, construction costs and delivery times on the Gold Coast to its limits.

Apartment sales on the Gold Coast have picked up pace in recent months with figures across 2021 so far outstripping the surge at the end of 2020.

Speaking at The Urban Developer’s Gold Coast in Focus Webinar, a panel of the city’s key research experts, agents and developers discussed the confluence of factors accelerating development momentum.

The city has been in high demand from interstate buyers with elevated household savings, drawn to increased affordability in south-east Queensland compared to rival markets in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It has been the perfect storm with low interest rates, the inability to travel and working remotely fuelling the region’s recent growth,” Lacey Group managing director Adam Lacey said.

“All of these factors bundled up have made the Gold Coast one of the most desirable lifestyle choices for anyone looking for new property in Australia.”

Construction Costs

▲ A number of major Gold Coast development projects have been built along the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3 route, now recognised as an urban regeneration spine. 

According to Urbis, which sampled 70 per cent of the Gold Coast market, there were 750 apartments sold in the first quarter of 2021, doubling the sales figures recorded in the final quarter of last year.

There has also been a continued trend in the decreasing scale of projects with the average apartments per project dropping from 100 in 2018 to 70 in 2020.

This has contributed to an undersupply with 6300 dwellings per annum needed per year to support upwards of 15,000 new arrivals.

Currently the city is delivering an average of 3800 dwellings each year, Urbis director of planning Matthew Schneider said.

Colliers International director David Higgins said buyers active in the Gold Coast market were also trending towards larger apartments, seeking two- and often three-bedroom formats predominantly in the city’s southern beaches.

“While this is a mature demographic seeking comfort, with good proportions and amenity, the number one reason driving their decisions is location,” Higgins said.

“Projects conceived by the right sponsors in the right location and targeting this demographic are reaping the rewards and achieving the best results.

“Of the Victorian purchasers, 80 per cent are owner-occupiers and 20 per cent investors, while New South Wales purchasers are similarly split, 75 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.”

Mosaic founder Brook Monahan said there had been a shift towards the mid-market—apartments between $600,000 and $1.5 million—however, the difficulty remained around feasibility with increasing site values.

“There has been a spike in land values but also in construction costs,” Monahan said.

“I’ve never seen prices rise as quickly as they have recently in the past 17 to 18 years.

“When you have land values being brought forward for development sites and construction costs escalating around labour shortages and materials then margins are compressed substantially.

“If people keep designing and delivering premium products, in turn increasing sales rates in order to get their feasibility to work, then at some point in time the market will level out and suggest that there is too much of that product being delivered.”

Forme managing director David Calvisi echoed the sentiment saying that while the on-market acquisition environment had escalated, there was little difference in off-market pricing.

“Construction pricing in the last six to 12 months has experienced a 10-13 per cent spike in escalation which can blow out a feasibility,” Calvisi said.

“Developers who have sold projects 12 months ago are battling builders who are now saying the previous pricing is no longer valid.”

Aniko Group managing director George Mastrocostas warned that the worsening shortage of timber, steel and other supplies affecting the industry would intensify once international borders reopened and foreign investors re-entered the market.

“Most people are predicting at some stage next year we will get those borders open and the federal budget currently is forecasting that Queensland’s population will increase by 86,000 people—effectively the size of Bundaberg,” Mastrocostas said.

“While this is a sizeable number, I actually think we will eclipse this number once the international borders are reopened.

“This will only increase demand, create a shortage of land, and unfortunately for Queensland, reduce affordability.”


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Luxury new tower vision to take blue chip beachside suburb to the next level

Luxury new tower

Melbourne-based developers set to a new luxury tower at Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast

The announcement:

With the tide of demand on the Gold Coast for luxury beachside residences still high, Melbourne-based developer Hirsch & Faigen is set to put another shovel in the famed strip of sand.

In a move further cementing the city’s status as Australia’s luxury coastal lifestyle property mecca, Hirsch & Faigen has acquired a site at Mermaid Beach for its much-anticipated second Gold Coast development venture.

Superbly located in the highly sought-after beachside suburb, the development site at 7-9 Mermaid Avenue spans more than 1900sq m.

It is positioned for ultimate coastal living — tucked behind the beachfront ‘millionaires row’ mansions of Hedges Avenue and within a short stroll of the Broadbeach dining and entertainment precinct as well as the city’s premier Pacific Fair shopping destination.

Hirsch & Faigen is looking to bring its visionary development approach to the blue-chip Gold Coast enclave by creating a unique and timeless collection of contemporary residences.

Plans for a 24-storey luxury tower comprising 130 apartments designed by renowned architectural firm Rothelowman are due to be lodged for development approval in coming weeks.

“Mermaid Beach is not only one of Queensland’s but Australia’s most aspirational beachside addresses,” said Hirsch & Faigen director Richard Hirsch.

“We believe in creating unique and sophisticated living spaces with an uncompromising commitment to design, sustainability, usability and standard of delivery.

“Our vision for the Mermaid Beach site will not waiver from this approach, blending with its pristine surrounds and enhancing the lives and wellbeing of its residents.”

Pending its approval, the launch of sales in the project is expected in early December.

Hirsch & Faigen’s acquisition of the Mermaid Beach site follows the recent successful launch of its debut Gold Coast development, the 14-storey boutique luxury apartment tower Hemingway at Palm Beach.

It is also finalising plans for another luxury apartment project on the southern Gold Coast.

Hemingway will comprise 78 lavish residences with frontage to the exclusive beachfront strip of Jefferson Lane.

Even before its launch it had drawn substantial interest from local owner-occupiers and downsizers seeking the quintessential coastal lifestyle but with a luxurious upgrade. Also designed by Rothelowman, Hemingway is a multi-storey homage and reimagining of Palm Beach’s charming holiday shacks from the late 1950s and 1960s in the form of a collection of contemporary beach houses in the sky.


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