On Friday the Government accidentally released a major master plan vision for the refurbishment of the Gabba and surrounding areas.
The ABC acquired the plans under a right to information request which details major refurbishment works that are needed in order to keep the Gabba competitive in attracting national and international events.
Last month it revealed that the Gabba would miss out on hosting the first test against India with the stadium now widely considered ‘outdated’ and suffering from a lack of atmosphere.
The report mentioned that every other major sports ground in a capital city in Australia has been modernised in the past five to seven years except for the Gabba.
“This will maintain and elevate the Gabba’s status as one of the best sports venues in Australia and a local community asset.”
The exterior plan
Total integration with Cross River Rail
The most notable feature of the plan is to create a large elevated pedestrian bridge and plaza which would be a ‘striking statement’ at the western end of the stadium with direct links to the new Cross River Rail station.
Pedestrian bridges would also be built connecting Vulture and Stanley streets which would channel patrons into a new central space creating a better stadium arrival.
The exterior of the stadium would receive a massive revamp with a large new LED facade built around the entire stadium with the ability to display content depending on the event.
Along with the planned completion of the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail Woolloongabba station by 2024, the surrounding areas would be turned into landscaped gardens with big screens positioned throughout. Improvements in street furniture, as well as public transport points, are also proposed, with the current public transport situation described as ‘not obvious’.
The report also recommends improvement works of the iconic heritage listed Taylor-Heaslop Building, commonly known for its Moreton Rubber Works sign along Main Street.
Inside the stadium
The report noted a lack of meeting and dwell spaces within the stadium and has suggested new areas within the stadium for standing areas including a large spectator deck underneath the western video screen.
There would be six new entrances in total, as well as large new 16-metre by 9-metre screens at each end of the stadium.
Major changes are recommended to currently disconnected function rooms. The corporate suites would also receive an upgrade to increase revenue as well as a new ‘Queensland Lounge’ and a doubling of the size of the member’s bar area.
In order to enhance the atmosphere of inside the stadium, the report also discusses an Australian-first “media halo” which is described as a combination of digital projection and lighting, transforming the underside of the roof into one massive 360-degree media screen.
Also an Australian first would be a field-level suite which would allow up-close viewing to AFL player areas on the field.
Although the report puts the redevelopment timeframe out to a possible 15-20 years, Queensland Sports Minister Mick de Brenni told the ABC the redevelopment would not take that long.
“I think the redevelopment of the Gabba based on this master plan is far more achievable in a shorter time frame than that,” he said.
“We are consulting with cricket, with AFL, and of course our development partners on the Gabba precinct so we can deliver it as soon as possible.”
Earlier this month the Government announced $5 million for a detailed business plan for the proposed Brisbane Live entertainment precinct at Roma Street.
The Cross River Rail Development Authority has been given the Brisbane Live project to manage as part of its deliverables.
It is understood that the Government would take a similar approach for the redevelopment of the Gabba and use the established authority to manage the stadium redevelopment also.