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Springfield Goes Global in Search for $15bn Developer


Springfield City Group has gone global in its search for a partner to help deliver its $15-billion Knowledge Precinct that will complete the masterplanned Springfield CBD.

The precinct will be the key commercial area in the Queensland city’s CBD and has been approved for 1.22-million sq m of commercial space and 5340 apartments on 119ha of developable land.

The group has now put out a tender for a global partner, which it expects will garner attention from Australian as well as international firms.

The group’s chairman Maha Sinnathamby said the precinct would be anchored on three key pillars for future economic growth: health, education and technology.

“This (global tender) initiative will turbocharge the development of the Springfield CBD. This project represents a unique opportunity to join us in creating a legacy,” Sinnathamby said.

“The completion of a futuristic city, harnessing innovative thinking, will make a real, positive impact on economic growth and job creation in southeast Queensland.”

Sinnathamby said the SCG had a 29-year track record as the master developer of Springfield City and had successfully partnered with some of the country’s leading property groups to build the masterplanned community, which is 24km south-west of Brisbane.

The Knowledge Precinct is estimated to be worth about $15bn upon completion and could support a city population of more than 145,000 people through the development of Health City, Education City and IDEA City, across the development pillars for economic success.

The city is expected to be valued at about $88bn when completed and Sinnathamby said it was on track to become Brisbane’s second CBD.

The city continues to grow with major stakeholders including the Mater Hospital and University of Southern Queensland developing plans for expansion.

Springfield City Group deputy chairman Bob Sharpless said there was still ample opportunity for development at Springfield as just 25 per cent was currently developed.

“With considerable established infrastructure, 11 schools, residential developments, a hospital, existing local and regional transport links such as highways and two rail stations … we are already well on our way to becoming an economic centre for southeast Queensland,” he said.

“With the right partnership in place we will usher in the next chapter for our city.”

The population of Springfield City is forecast to grow by 5.8 per cent per annum during the next 15 years, tripling its current population to about 115,000 by 2036.

Moelis Australia is assisting the group with its competitive global tender process. Initial discussions are to begin in the coming weeks while an outcome and preferred partner are expected to be announced later this year.


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City Council Backs Brisbane Olympic Bid


He was the sole voice of opposition to Brisbane City Council’s bid to host the Olympics but Greens councillor Jonathan Sri is adamant the negative impacts outweigh the positive.

The council’s confidential meeting this week included briefings from president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) John Coates and the president of the Paralympics Committee Jock O’Callaghan.

The vote to formalise Brisbane’s commitment to the Games has paved the way for a formal bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games. It received bipartisan support with Sri the only dissenter.

Media and the public were barred from the meeting, to protect the locations of potential developments and any impacts it would have on property prices, the council said.

“While hosting undoubtedly offers some positive opportunities, after considering all the available information, I was concerned that the negative impacts upon our city will outweigh the benefits,” Sri said.

“Evidence from recent Olympics points to major cost overruns, significant disruption to residents, superfluous sports infrastructure that’s not as useful long-term as proponents might have suggested, and economic benefits flowing predominantly to major corporations rather than local businesses.”

Sri said taxpayers would have to foot the bill, estimated to be about $900 million, to develop new sporting venues.

An IOC feasibility study highlighted Brisbane’s need for about 20 per cent more sporting facilities.

Sri said the council and state governments were negotiating with the IOC over a new 50,000-seat stadium earmarked for Albion.

The Brisbane bid includes plans for seven new venues across the southeast corner, but that could be reduced to two with the use of existing facilities.


“While some of the infrastructure built for the Olympics can certainly leave a positive legacy and lasting public benefit, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll also spend public money building Olympics-standard sports facilities that we don’t really need and wouldn’t otherwise waste money on,” Sri said.

Brisbane was announced as a preferred candidate in February.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the formalised commitment to the Games bid had received bipartisan support which was a “strong result”.

He said the Games presented a good value proposition for the city and he hoped they would receive the green light as early as July, when the Tokyo Games were due to begin.

“Brisbane City Council voted yes to the jobs that will be created, yes to the opportunities this will bring to our city, yes to the opportunity this will bring to our region and our state and yes to the bring forward and fast tracking of infrastructure and investment in our region that will service the needs of a growing population,” Schrinner said.

The final submission from the three levels of government and the AOC is due in April.


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Gold Coast

Surf Park Planned for Gold Coast Resort

Shovel-Ready Projects

Parkwood Village has announced plans to build a ‘world-class’ wave pool by 2023, forming larger plans for its already approved integrated resort and leisure precinct on the Gold Coast.

The Club at Parkwood Village announced it signed a partnership deal with Canada-based waterpark manufacturer WhiteWater to build the man-made waves—a $35-million Endless Surf pool about 10km from Surfers Paradise.

An integrated resort has already been approved for the 76-122 Napper Road club site in Parkwood. Now the company says it will take new plans to the Gold Coast City Council with the aim of a two-year project timeline, subject to approvals.

Parkwood managing director and founder Luke Altschwager says the proposed development would become a “world-class” integrated golf and surf resort with the Gold Coast’s first surf park to sit alongside the existing 18-hole golf course.

“I want to make sure Parkwood becomes the heart of the sport here on the Gold Coast,” Altschwager said.

“Not only is a world-class surf pool a perfect fit for our active community, it anchors a whole new level of economic investment in the area.”

Surf Park

▲ Parkwood, Gold Coast could be home to a golf and surf resort. 

Plans for the man-made surf park on the Gold Coast join the likes of the Kelly Slater-backed Surf Ranch at the Sunshine Coast proposed by Brisbane developer Consolidated Properties Group, and Urbnsurf’s  first Australian location, in Melbourne.

The Parkwood club received the green-light to build a $160-million retirement village with 219 apartments plus leisure facilities last year.

It has approval for a 200-plus-bedroom hotel and residential apartments to expand its hospitality, medical and commercial services.

WhiteWater built its first surf pool in 1989. Last year it announced surf projects in Vietnam, a luxury resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and Paris.

Its technology offers waves to suit beginners to professionals, with customisable waves ranging in size from two-to-seven foot every 10 seconds for rides of up to 26 seconds.

Altschwager said Parkwood Village will spend the next few months working with the community and council to reconfigure the current development approval to incorporate the new surf lagoon and upgrades to the golf course.

The Endless Surf pool is expected to include a beach-like lagoon.

Altschwager says he aims to have the project up by 2023, subject to approvals.


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Brisbane Olympic athletes’ village could be modelled on Gold Coast success

If you want to imagine how the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games athletes’ village might look and operate, glance about 80 kilometres to the south on the Gold Coast.

More than 2500 people now live in the build-to-rent community Smith Collective at Southport, which has evolved over three years from the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village.

By July, the community’s population will be about 3000. All residents are renting for between six months and two years.

With Hamilton Northshore emerging as a potential Brisbane Games athletes’ village, the transition at Southport shows how the state government-owned riverside land could transition from Olympics infrastructure to a residential and commercial precinct.

Both parcels of land are managed by the property arm of the state government’s Economic Development Queensland.

At Southport, between 2012 and 2018, EDQ oversaw the development of 30 hectares into the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village precinct.

In total, 1251 units were built in 19 apartment towers to house 6000 athletes in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Today, 17 of the 19 former athletes’ village towers have been transformed, with kitchen facilities added, into modern one-, two- and three-bedroom units that are all rented.

The residential transformation was completed by James Lang LaSalle, which appointed Grocon to do the work, and subsequently enlisted real estate company Smith Collective to rent and manage the new community.

These 17 towers are 80 per cent full. COVID-19 slowed things last year, but it has since bounced back.

Brisbane Olympic

Smith Collective general manager Matt Taplin with marketing manager Alex Slingsby. Seventeen of the 19 former Games village apartment towers are now rented at 80 per cent occupancy.CREDIT:TONY MOORE 

The concept had two steps.

The first was to renovate the buildings in the athletes’ village, occupying about 16 hectares of the precinct, and then renting the units out. The prices are mid-range.

The second step was maximising the commercial opportunities from the nearby Griffith University and Gold Coast University Hospital.

Smith Collective general manager Matt Taplin said the build-to-rent scheme was popular because, while housing was in demand, “not everybody wants to buy a house”.

“For a lot of people, home ownership does not feature in the future at the moment,” Mr Taplin said.

“Renting has always been a part of what people do when they enter the workforce and from the other side renting is where a lot of people feel comfortable as they approach retirement.

“They free up equity, or perhaps they never had the chance to gain it.”

Renting at Australia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village at Southport

  • 1251 apartments in 19 buildings at Village Boulevard at Southport
  • The buildings are the former athletes’ rooms but have been transformed
  • The rent is $380 for a one-bedroom unit and $420 for a two-bedroom unit
  • A three-bedroom townhouse rents for $595
  • It is 80 per occupied to employees of nearby Griffith University, Gold Coast University Hospital and the nearby private hospital and some double-income professional couples
  • Some university students live in the smaller one-bedroom units

The proximity to Griffith University and the Gold Coast University Hospital plus a private hospital was a drawcard for businesses in the medical and advanced manufacturing areas. This Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct is now the commercial driver.

There are now 14,000 employees and students in the area and the Gold Coast light rail runs to the top of the hill.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ recreation rooms are now home to small start-up businesses in a centre called Cohort.

On Cohort’s top floor, a bar during the Games has become an artificial intelligence laboratory.

Here, one small success story is Datarwe, a start-up that provides a data platform for researching patient care. It won a $1.5 million grant from the Queensland government’s Department of Innovation.

Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct business development manager Kathy Kruger described it as a “precision-data medicine platform that looks at all the data that comes out of intensive care units”.

“It de-identifies that data but it uses the cumulative data to predict better outcomes for patients going through intensive care units,” she said.

Hamilton, a suburb about six kilometres north-east of the Brisbane CBD, is firming as the site for the 14,000-bed athletes’ village should Brisbane win the bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games.

The site is on the bank of the Brisbane River, between Hamilton Portside and the Gateway Bridge, and stretches back from the river towards Kingsford Smith Drive.

Brisbane Olympic

Vacant land at Hamilton Northshore is an option for the Queensland government to explore as an athletes’ village for the 2032 Summer Olympics.CREDIT:TONY MOORE

A master plan has existed since 2008, showing where high and medium-density residential, open space and mixed-use spaces could be established.

The private sector has built several unit complexes, but there is plenty of space. About 50 hectares is still owned by the Queensland government.

The 2018 Southport athletes’ village could be the model for Hamilton, Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct staff said. The challenge was identifying the commercial driver to transform the site after the Olympic Games.

Brisbane Times asked State Development questions about the Hamilton site and its potential use during and after the Olympics.

In response, the department said: “All Games partners continue to work through the options around the proposed Games masterplan to be submitted as part of Brisbane’s candidature.”


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