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Seven boss Ryan Stokes lodges plans for Palm Beach apartment development Akuna


Akuna, which derives from the Aboriginal word meaning “flowing water,” will span nine levels and have 13 apartments

The Seven Group media heir Ryan Stokes is set to develop an apartment block on his recently acquired double block on Gold Coast’s Palm Beach.

Stokes, managing director and chief executive of Seven Group Holdings which his father Kerry Stokes founded in 1991, recently doubled the size of his Jefferson Lane holding, paying $4,625,000 for a holiday home on 406 sqm. That gave him a total of 814 sqm. Stokes spent $3,375,000 on a four bedroom home on 408 sqm next door in 2016.

And now Stokes has lodged plans for Akuna, a boutique block of just 13 apartments designed by the Brisbane-based Modulus Architecture at 39-41 Jefferson Lane, Palm Beach.

Akuna, which derives from the Aboriginal word meaning “flowing water,” will span nine levels and comprise nine three bedroom apartments and four four bedroom apartments.


One of the three beds will sit on the ground floor, next to the ground level resident amenity of a gym, lap pool, spa and communal rec space.

The four levels above will have two apartments per floor until level six. From there there will be four single level apartments, the four bedders, which span over 265 sqm.

Crowning the apartment development is another resident amenity level, featuring a mother pool, sun deck, built-in barbecue space and external dining space.

There will be 34 parking spaces across the two basement level garaging, and bicycle parking for 17.

The development is oriented toward the vistas of Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and the Gold Coast Hinterland.

“Apartments have been designed with sub-tropical Queensland living in mind, providing expansive living zones opening out to external balconies whilst offering zones for relaxation and privacy,” the design statement submitted to the Gold Coast City Council by Modulus Architecture notes.

“Externally, Akuna is articulated with a series of balconies and façade breaks to develop an architectural language that speaks to the origin of the development’s name; Akuna meaning flowing water.

“Linear elements roll and curl along the facade, in the same way as a wave curls before breaking on the shoreline. A refined palette of materials references Queensland coastal vernacular, composed of linear timber boards, flowing concrete forms and ornate fenestration.

“Contextually, the development is conveniently located within proximity to a range of retail, restaurant and wellness facilities, providing residents with an increased level of amenity.”


Architectural Design Statement

Architectural Design 

Taking inspiration from the curls of a breaking wave, Akuna’s sculptural form evokes a sense of fluidity and calm. Concrete upstands bend and curve their way around each articulated floor plate and terminate much like a wave crashing back into the ocean. Each floor level is articulated with a series of breaks and extensions that mirror the effect of natural resonance. Pushing in and out to provide balconies and quiet moments to view the magnificent coastline.

Built Form 

The sculptural form appears to float over the street level but seamlessly integrate with the natural surroundings along the beach front. Akuna is study in horizontality, broken by finite vertical elements. Slab extensions and breaks are positioned so as to provide glimpses to the water but provide privacy to neighbouring sites. Setbacks are considered with the view to reduce overlooking. Rear setbacks to balconies are calculated from the Sea Wall A-Line, with the street front setbacks exceeding four metres to the bulk form of the building. Elegant curves wrap and fold around the façade whilst providing a level of protection to the apartments from the afternoon sun. Bedrooms and living spaces are positioned to capture vistas north to Surfer’s Paradise and south to Coolangatta. Noting the 29m height limit, Akuna looks to maximise its coastal outlook by providing a series of elevated roof zones which follow the natural contour of the ground. All 9 levels are contained within the stated 29m height limit.

rban Design Intent 

Akuna looks to provide a complementary and respectful design outcome to the developing and vivacious Palm Beach locale. A secure lobby entry is provided on grade from the street level, providing a central point for the collection of mail and meeting of guests. Flanked by lush sub-tropical gardens, a private access stair is provided for the ground level unit. Communal recreation facilities are provided on the ground level, allowing for a series of internal and external recreation activities to take place. Direct connection to the beachfront boundary on grade provides resident’s and their guests the opportunity to access the beach or enjoy the coastal vista from the privacy of their outdoor terrace. A pool and sculptural planting creates an increased level of activation to the street and provides the opportunity for passive surveillance to the public footpath and street face to the north of the site. Car & bicycle parking is contained within the basement zone, providing four visitor carparks accessible from the street, and an additional 30 residential carparks secured behind an access controlled gate. Bicycles are located within the basement, with a collection of visitor bicycles located on grade adjacent the lobby.


A refined palette of carefully selected materials envelope the elegantly winged floorplates; profiled concrete provides a reference to the striations of shells, whilst the battened façade screens allude to the natural tones and colours of found items along the shoreline. Clear glazing is interwoven with timber boards to add contrast and texture to the adjacent smooth concrete ‘curls’


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$50 million penthouses: Gurner to raise the bar as $1.5 billion development plans for South Yarra’s Jam Factory are unveiled


Our vision for the residential offerings will raise the bar in the luxury market even higher; I wouldn’t be surprised if we create a penthouse collection that will fetch prices of up to $50 million

There wasn’t too much to know about South Yarra’s old jam factory on the buzzing Chapel Street, until the prominent, now national developer, Tim Gurner took control of a part of the massive 18,000 sqm site.

Now Gurner’s development firm, Gurner, are set to submit plans for a massive $1.5 billion mixed-use precinct, comprising retail and entertainment, office and residential towers, an ultra-luxury hotel and a new public realm.

The globally renowned architects Bates Smart have put together the plans for the project, which is intended to create a vibrant new heart for Chapel Street while revitalising and restoring the Nineteenth Century heritage facades along Chapel and Garden Streets.

The development sees Gurner team up with the real estate manager Newmark Capital, who will deliver and retain ownership of the office space, and the leading real estate financier Qualitas, who will work with Gurner on the residential side. Gurner and Qualitas bought a chunk of the site from Newmark last year.

The expected public benefits include the creation of 1000 jobs during construction, 3200 ongoing jobs at capacity and $490M annual ongoing GVA to the Victorian economy.  The project is slated to launch publicly to the market in early 2022 with completion earmarked for 2025.

Gurner says the exciting precinct represents the alliance of three passionate property businesses working in harmony to create something that will do the incredible site justice and take everyone’s breath away.


“Our vision for the residential offerings will raise the bar in the luxury market even higher; I wouldn’t be surprised if we create a penthouse collection that will fetch prices of up to $50 million,” Gurner said.

“The depth of the ultra-high end of the market is certainly there and we believe there will be significant investment from wealthy expats and global investors returning to Australia after considerable time abroad, along with a doubling-down of local luxury buyers.

“This project will see us take what we have learnt over the past 17 years – in particular our recent experience with Hawksburn Place Residences and Saint Moritz – and take these residences to a new level of exclusivity and luxury once again.

“I have always been drawn to heritage sites and the Jam Factory represents one of the most exciting revitalisation precincts in Australia. I am truly excited to be working on a project that will rediscover and celebrate a heritage that has been hidden from public view for many decades.


Gurner says the team have been working closely with council to align the proposal with their feedback and advice, to ensure the development can be a precinct for the entire community – with something for everyone who will work, live, shop or even just pass through the area.

The centrepiece of the precinct will be a new split-level central public space with a large open staircase creating an amphitheatre for events

Open laneways and spaces will link Chapel Street with the retail and entertainment precinct, creating a 24/7 shopping, food, dining and entertainment destination.

There will be four luxury residential towers, which will have over 400 apartments.

In keeping with Gurner’s love for heritage buildings, the facade of the jam factory will be retained. Above will sit a curvilinear office building and a the residential towers, sat on stilts to welcome both people and light through.

Simon Swaney, director at Bates Smart, said there is a multiplier effect for the development given it combines hotel, retail, residential, cinemas and commercial – creating a greater whole.

“This will be an extraordinary place to work, visit and live,” Swaney said.

“It is a key Melbourne cultural site, a part of urban life in South Yarra, a very significant artefact of the industrial heritage of this area.

“The high-quality residential component will offer outstanding views to surrounding districts and even toward the bay.

“We feel excited and proud about the opportunities, both architecturally and as a development that will enliven this area and Melbourne,” he said.

Fast Facts

The proposed revised scheme, which is expected to be submitted to council this week, includes:

● A new public civic space in the form of a 1,700sqm, two-level plaza and amphitheatre

● Four luxury residential towers totalling over 400 ultra-luxury residences

● A 5-star hotel totalling around 180 keys

● A commercial floorspace totalling 22,500sqm of NLA

● Three levels of experiential retail and entertainment totalling 21,000sqm NLA, including the retention and redevelopment of the existing cinema offering

● A series of integrated laneways, based on the area’s original 1864 master plans


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Central Queensland

Plans Lodged for $56m Central Coast Quarter Tower

Plans have been lodged for the first stage of the $150-million Central Coast Quarter development.

The first stage of St Hilliers’ three-tower precinct at 26-30 Mann Street comprises a 25-storey mixed-use development with 136 apartments, retail and 181 car parks.

The DKO Architecture-designed north tower has been lodged as a state significant development with a construction value of about $56.7 million.

The entertainment precinct concept design approved by the Independent Planning Commission last year included a 183-room hotel, 295 apartments across two towers, commercial space, restaurants and retail space.

DKO’s design report said the development would create an “active and functional city spine”.

“The built form draws upon and celebrates Gosford’s unique identity to facilitate an attractive and desirable setting for both its residents and the public realm,” the report said.

“The landscape design will create a strong connection to the adjoining Leagues Club Field, embracing and continuing the Indigenous character from the park up through into the towers’ landscape.”

The New South Wales government earmarked the site for Gosford’s Waterfront Precinct revitalisation as it links the CBD to the waterfront and provides an opportunity for higher density.

Central Coast

▲ The Central Coast Quarter is close to Gosford City Park and overlooks Brisbane Water 

DKO Architects said the residential density of the proposed development was suitable and sustainable and consistent with Gosford’s evolution.

“Due to the site’s urban context and the nature of the project, the proposed development possesses the ability to be supported by existing and future infrastructure.

“The final outcome of the proposed development has been designed with a high level of social contribution in mind, not only to its residents.

“It will be a vibrant development that activates the street and invites residents of the proposal to interact with the local community.”

The apartments will include a mix of 14 one-bedroom apartments, 107 two-bedrooms, 14 three-bedrooms and 1 four-bedroom apartment, with 10 per cent able to be adapted for residents with disabilities.

The building has been designed to achieve 5.7-star Nathers Rating with a reduced requirement for heating and cooling.

Construction is anticipated to start in 2022.

The site was formerly the home of Gosford Public School which was demolished in 2014 for the state government to create a business precinct.

In March 2019, Property NSW sold the property to St Hilliers, with the company then building the six-storey office building and first stage of the Central Coast Quarter.

St Hilliers has already constructed a $50 million commercial building on the site in 2019, anchored by NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.


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Rare Broadbeach apartment development site gets rarer, with two apartment towers possible

Rare Broadbeach

Sites have become invaluable, and it’s a case of picking off the old, tired buildings on prime land which will make way for new, flashy apartment towers

Large development sites on the Gold Coast are in as short supply as the apartments at the moment, with Urbis data suggesting there are just over four months of supply of apartments if sales rates continue as they are and there are no new projects released.

Sites have become invaluable, and it’s a case of picking off the old, tired buildings on prime land which will make way for new, flashy apartment towers.

That’s seen the local site amalgamation specialists GV Property Group never busier.

GV Property Group founder Antonio Mercuri, who started the company around six years ago knocking on doors, along with his right hand man Luke Reaby, are starting to see an uptick in apartments vendors willing to band together to get the maximum price they can from developers, who are coming from all over the country to build apartments on the Gold Coast.

The duo recently launched 2769 Gold Coast Highway, a 2,595 sqm site, for sale, with big demand early on.

Within a week, Mercuri and Reaby managed to take the site a step further, amalgamating the site next door by contacting the owners of the adjoining six apartments at 16 Rosewood Avenue, adding a further 647 sqm to create the huge 3,242 sqm corner site which has unlimited height zoning.

Rare Broadbeach

2769 Gold Coast Highway and 16 Rosewood Ave is for sale via expressions of interest, closing October 8. For more information,

Reaby advises that the maximum tower floorplate on the Gold Coast is typically 750 sqm, suggesting ‘the site could accommodate two towers which would fit perfectly within the site cover guidelines.

There’s also a rare proposition of having two or three podium levels, which would create a striking facade from the street level and above ground parking.

Dual tower developments have seen great success in the past in the area, with Meriton Suites and Oracle still popular at Broadbeach.

And there’s plenty of mega-developments in the pipeline with more than one tower planned for these larger amalgamated sites, with the aim to create a sky-high resort for residents.

The Shanghai-headquartered international property developer SPG Land, in a joint-venture with Australian developer Gordon Corp, has lodged $800 million plans for nearly 800 apartments to be built across three towers in the heart of Surfers Paradise.

They will be anchored by a new ground-level retail and dining plaza at the street level Ferny Avenue. The 1.15 hectare site will be bounded by Ferny Ave, one of Surfers main streets, as well as Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Pandanus Avenue and Ocean Avenue near the Surfers Paradise North light rail station.

The latest was of course the $1.25 billion plans laid by the Melbourne-based developer Gurner, led by the high-profile developer Tim Gurner, just up the road.

The 11,000 plus sqm site at 108 Ferny Avenue will be known as La Pelago, and will comprise four huge towers with nearly 1,000 apartments, around a quarter dedicated to a hotel.

There’s been international interest for a massive 5,726 sqm site at 3006-3016 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, which already has development application application for Orion Towers, a mixed-use development with two towers and over 1200 apartments.

But Reaby reckons there’s a great opportunity for a build to rent operator, with current vacancy rates at all time lows.

“The site would allow for well over 200 apartments for a build to rent operator”, Reaby says, however admits the likelihood is of two residential towers, or one hotel and one residential tower.


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