The $2 billion Brisbane Live entertainment precinct located in the heart of the CBD is about to progress to stage two of the Queensland Government’s market-led proposals initiative.
For over 12 months the government has been reviewing the plan and is anticipated to provide constructive feedback which will push the project into a fine tuning and due diligence phase.
Harvey Lister, chairman of Brisbane-based AEG Ogden, a subsidiary of global entertainment venue operator AEG, told the Courier Mail they are optimistic that Brisbane Live is now receiving the focus it needs with the State Government to enable it to happen.
In preparation of the next stage, AEG Ogden has already prepared a detailed 150-page financial brief and appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to explore opportunities and ways to attract private investment into the project which would see the development of apartments, hotels, retail, commercial space as well as possibly cultural, education and research facilities based around the new 17,000 seat Brisbane Arena.
“The redevelopment concept for the whole of the Roma Street site is a truly unique one-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we believe its time has come,” he said.
“Very few cities globally have the opportunity to create a commercial, educational, leisure and entertainment precinct in a world-class garden setting on a 20-plus hectare site right in the middle of the city,’’ Mr Lister said.
The proposal is mirrored off LA Live, located at South Park, a district South West of downtown Los Angeles. Situated at the centre of LA Live is the 20,000 seat Staples Center which hosts basketball, ice hockey, boxing and wrestling as well as music concerts and theatres.
Since its inception in 2009, the 10.9 hectare LA Live precinct has spurred on incredible growth and gentrification of the surrounding area, developing new hotels and residences like the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott. The precinct is serviced predominantly by a light rail line.
LA Live has attracted private investment of public assets such as the 3,716 m2 open-air Microsoft square, the 7,100 seat Microsoft Theatre as well as museums, cinema and tv broadcasting facilities.
Comparatively, Brisbane Live as it stands is larger by area (around 20 hectares) and is located on top of Queensland’s largest rail interchange hub. The positioning above Roma Street station gives the added advantage of catering not just to Brisbane audiences but to the whole of South East Queensland, a population catchment of well over 3.4 million (2014 figures). Like Staples Center, the Brisbane Arena could accomodate international concert tours, theatres like Wicked or The Wizard of Oz as well as potentially being the new home of the Brisbane International’s tennis finals.
Harvey Lister said the ability for the Brisbane Live project to activate the night-life economy of the CBD to support the new Queens Wharf development is a compelling factor.
AEG Ogden are reportedly moving quickly with the proposal, with hopes of getting final approval within one year and built by 2021-2022 to coincide with the completion of Brisbane’s other major development, the $3 billion Queens Wharf Integrated Resort.
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“We see the proposal being part of Brisbane’s transformation alongside developments such as our Queen’s Wharf Brisbane integrated resort, the new Brisbane runway and Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment … evolving Brisbane into a truly internationally competitive city.”
– Geoff Hogg, Star Entertainment Group Managing Director
“The need for a bigger events arena has clearly been identified especially as we attract more and more events. Existing facilities are at capacity. It’s a perfect location to link with retail and hospitality in the way a city like Melbourne does and there’s no reason Brisbane cannot be as attractive for these major events which bring hundreds of millions of dollars of benefit.”
– Daniel Gschwind, Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive
“Brisbane Live is a terrific vision to unlock an enormous and under-utilised part of the CBD” which was currently an eyesore into an unparalleled investment opportunity. LA Live has transformed an unsavoury part of that city into an extremely successful venue and AEG Ogden’s vision can mirror that impact.’’
– Stephen Conry, JLL Australia Chief Executive
Tim Nicholls, state opposition leader told the Courier Mail the project was a ‘game-changer’ and was behind the Brisbane Live project, so much so that if elected, he would overhaul the market-led proposals process to speed up approvals.
He said it was “staggering” it had taken a year to get to this point and slammed the Palaszczuk Government’s record on MLPs. “In two years, just one of more than 100 proposals has been approved.”
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said he wants to see Brisbane Live progress to help boost tourism along with Queens Wharf, Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway, new cruise ship terminal and the planned metro rapid bi-articulated bus system.
Cross River Rail Integration
Whilst the painfully decade-long squabble over Cross River Rail funding continues, there is one positive side effect of government inaction. The potential for pure integration of Cross River Rail with Brisbane Live.
Both projects could be seamlessly integrated with one another creating a super-transit hub beneath the surface of Brisbane Live and sparing Brisbane residents with additional years of construction headaches. Cross River Rail already promises to turn the immediate area into a “vibrant precinct” with a new plaza and retail offerings.
AEG Ogden meet with the Queensland Government this week to discuss progressing the project to the next phase.