The last ten years in Brisbane has been some of the most prosperous years in the city’s history. The creation of not only new large-scale infrastructure but also entire ‘livability precincts’ in Newstead, Hamilton, Bowen Hills and West End.
There are many great potential development sites around Brisbane. However some, more then others possess important characteristics which give a site an iconic status. Brisbane’s five most iconic development sites with potential are based on their location, size and the surrounding environment.
Looking towards the next ten years, which iconic Brisbane sites currently don’t have a plan on them, but probably should?
Uncovering Brisbane’s iconic site potential
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Since running a similar article in 2011, three of five top potential iconic development sites in Brisbane have since been redeveloped or are in the planning stages for redevelopment.
The Parmalat Milk Factory and Royal on the Park, numbered 4th and 5th on the 2011 list are the sites which still don’t have a master plan or proposal yet. These, therefore, move to top spot on the prediction of Brisbane’s next iconic sites, ripe for redevelopment in 2019 and beyond.
Parmalat Milk Factory, South Brisbane
The Parmalat site in South Brisbane is arguably one of Brisbane’s most prime riverfront sites and its underutilisation means it is the clear front-runner for a possible proposal in the years to come. The site currently houses the Italian-owned Parmalat milk processing facility. The site has been subject to numerous concept proposals – from Labor’s South Bank 2.0 to a pre-election LNP proposal for a $1 billion Academy of Sciences.
There has however never been a serious proposal or government action to relocate the facility to free up the iconic site for public development.
Apart from the maritime museum site, this slice of land is now the last riverfront site in South Bank which is ripe for redevelopment. With land prices and scarcity in Brisbane continuously on the rise, the Parmalat site represents Brisbane’s top iconic site for development potential.
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Royal on the Park, CBD
Located at 152 Alice Street, Brisbane City, the Royal on the Park is a 7,275 sqm site housing 153 hotel rooms and sits adjacent to the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, a prime CBD site boasting never to be built out garden views.
This year marks the 50’th anniversary of the Royal on the Park which was constructed in 1969 and was originally known as the Parkroyal Motor Inn, Australia’s largest motel at the time. The Royal on the Park has endured one fire, two floods and two name changes.
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In 2011, the Queensland Government announced that the Royal on the Park site would make way for the southern portal of the Albert Street Cross River Rail (CRR) station, with a plan to build on top of the station after the completion of the new railway line. However, after years of tweaking and new alignments, the CRR station will now be located further up Albert Street at the corner of Mary Street as part of a recently declared Priority Development Area.
While fires, floods and infrastructure projects couldn’t bring this 50-year-old building down, the market soon will. The neighbouring residential apartment tower Abian, by Sunland shows the demand for never to be built out park views is stronger than ever, and it is only a matter of time before this landmark site makes way for something iconic.
The Myer Centre, CBD
Almost unanimously, Brisbanites would agree that the Myer Centre no longer suits the urban fabric of the CBD. Designed in an age where pedestrians were an afterthought, this extensive shopping mall, which opened in 1988, the global heyday of big malls, no longer is the site’s highest and best use.
Taking up a large majority of one CBD grid, between Elizabeth, Albert and Queen Streets, the ten storey building, which could be mistaken for a suburban shopping mall could only be fixed with a wreaking ball (retaining current heritage facades on Queen Street of course).
With the retail landscape changing rapidly, the 31-year-old building will likely soon be subject to a major redevelopment as the commercial realities of the site catch up to it. The extremely valuable but underutilised airspace above the centre will one day cause it’s redevelopment.
A Hypothetical Development Project:
Entrepôt 2030 – An immersive, high-density mixed-use development which revolutionises the idea of shopping into an experience-based precinct. At its core, an elevated platform would fill the air with music and dance, with surrounding towers playing host to onlooking bars and restaurants. Retail would rise vertically from the lower levels of buildings. Gone are the days of large format department stores, with retail taking smaller formats (David Jones – James Street for example).
Entrepôt or transhipment port is a French word for port or trading post where merchandise may be imported, stored or traded, usually to be exported again.
728 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
728 Ann Street Fortitude Valley is a large 4,572 sqm elevated carpark site located in the heart of the Fortitude Valley.
In 2013, the site was sold for over $44 million and is currently owned by LVS Nominees Pty Ltd which is a Seymour family company. Its positioning makes it an ideal candidate for a large mixed-use entertainment-based development.
XXXX Brewery, Milton
With every new craft brewery that opens in Brisbane, coupled with higher property values within inner-Brisbane, the days are numbered for the 140-year old XXXX Brewery.
Rumours of the brewery’s closure, although denied have already sprouted out. Whether we like it or not, in 10, 20 or 30 years, major manufacturing facilities like XXXX will inevitably be pushed out from inner city Brisbane.
So instead of this iconic site falling into the hands of private development, perhaps this is an opportunity for Brisbane to invest in what could become a massive iconic cultural drawcard, exceeding that of New Farm’s Powerhouse in the early 2000’s.
In 1997, the Government Owned Queensland Electricity Transmission Corporation sold the Powerhouse to the Brisbane City Council for a nominal price of just $850,000. Whilst the XXXX brewery is owned by private Japanese parent company Lion, if deemed as a vital site for a landmark cultural site, Council or State Government, similarly to the Powerhouse, could acquire the site for future community uses such as a grand central market, cultural hub or museum.
The centrally located site, situated opposite Milton Station is ripe for destination-based redevelopment which could become a massive drawcard for Milton.