Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has turned the first sod on the initial stage of residential development for the $2.9 billion RNA Showgrounds Regeneration project.
The RNA transformation, the most significant urban renewal project in Brisbane since Southbank, is expected to create economic activity worth close to $4 billion and more than 15, 000 jobs, both direct and indirect. Upon completion, it will be home to more than 3,000 residents and 12,000 workers.
Lend Lease Australia CEO Mark Menhinnitt said the sod-turning event was a key milestone for one of Brisbane’s most historic sites. “The construction activity so far here at the home of the Ekka has focussed on RNA assets and much needed infrastructure and enabling works.
“What we are officially starting today is the first of the residential homes and that means by mid 2014 people will be living here at The Green, a new Lend Lease community in inner Brisbane at a site with a rich and historic past.”
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Tomorrow major earthworks will begin on the footprint for the first five residential buildings on the site, creating 340 one and two bedroom apartments around a central open courtyard theme, providing a unique green zone for residents and starting a new phase in the RNA’s transformation.
Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman said the partnership project between the RNA and Lend Lease represented a much needed boost to the Queensland construction industry – one of the four pillars of our state’s economy. “The regeneration of the RNA showgrounds means that members of the community will be able to not just live here, but to enjoy the new state-of-the-art facilities at the home of the Ekka all year round.”
Mr Menhinnitt said more than 140 apartments had been sold at The Green with steady enquiry continuing, assisted in part recently by the Government First Home Owners Construction grant. “It’s an unmatched events destination close to hospitals, schools, the CBD and the Airport with all the major road and rail connections right here. People are also embracing the opportunity to be part of Lend Lease’s first inner Brisbane mixed-use development.”
RNA Chief Executive Brendan Christou agreed construction of the first residential apartments signalled a critical stage. “This renewal is transforming our iconic RNA Showgrounds into a year round destination and events precinct, a place where people will live, work and play,’’ he said. “This precinct will greatly improve our events through state of the art facilities, and attract thousands of new visitors a year while retaining our historical legacy.”
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This year more than 400,000 people enjoyed The Ekka, testament to the close collaboration between the RNA and Lend Lease project teams, allowing work to continue seamlessly at a highly active and visual site.
The 15-year regeneration project includes 416,000m2 of new event facilities, residential, commercial and retail buildings along with significant public green-space and new streetscapes.