The Greens unveil masterplan vision for Woolloongabba Cross River Rail site

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Proposed alternative masterplan vision for Woolloongabba Cross River Rail site

An alternative Cross River Rail station vision has been released by The Queensland Greens which show ideas ranging from new public swimming pools, to large skate parks, cultural centre as well as commercial and residential towers.

The Queensland Government is currently drafting up a development scheme for the Woolloongabba site which would map out how development will unfold around the new underground railway station.

Greens Councilor Jonathan Sri said he is hoping the visions will inspire residents to produce their own ideas for how the massive 5-hectare publicly owned site could meet community needs.

“Some people will argue that we should be concentrating high-density housing and offices above a train station, but it’s important to recognise the surrounding context, where almost every single site immediately around the train station is already zoned for high-density residential and/or commercial,” Cr Sri said.

Diagram sketch of the Greens alternative vision for the Woolloongabba Cross River Rail site

“To make Woolloongabba work as a cohesive high-density neighbourhood, we do need a lot more public green space and community facilities on the Gabba station site. That’ll also help make private development on neighbouring blocks more viable.”

The greens are calling on the Queensland Government to retain responsibility of developing the site so that the land remains in public ownership and can facilitate non-profit housing.

“Even if we do include some housing or commercial development on the station site itself, it would be better for that to remain in public ownership.”

“There are a range of models available. Non-profit housing and associated facilities could be directly delivered, owned and maintained by the Department of Housing and Public Works, or delivered and managed in partnership with non-profit housing providers like Brisbane Housing Company or Murri Watch,” Cr Sri said.

“The Queensland Investment Corporation could also play a role, remaining as the landlord and property manager for a small amount of commercial office space which is leased out to generate revenue that subsidises construction and management of the public facilities.”

Two different concept visions were released by the greens, one which is a ‘mixed-use’ plan with commercial, residential and active green space, and the other being a ‘blue-green’ vision which dedicates 100% of the space to community-orientated uses such as a public library, community hall, green space, sports field as well as parklands and densely vegetated areas.

The proposed ‘blue-green’ vision with 100% community-orrientated uses

Amy MacMahon, Greens Candidate for South Brisbane at the upcoming state election in October says the area has a critical shortage of greenspace and community facilities.

“Instead of the current plans, Woolloongabba Station precinct should have a mix of greenspace, public housing and community infrastructure, like a library and pool, that really meets the needs of a growing community,” Amy said.

“This would be a huge boost for local businesses, with people from all across Brisbane flocking to the new Woolloongabba site not just for game days, but all year round to enjoy parkland and community spaces,” she said.

Current architectural visulisations of the future Woolloongabba site show a mixed-use masterplan with large residential and commercial tower massings connecting to the Gabba Stadium via a new pedestrian bridge overpass above Main Street.

The exact design of the Cross River Rail site is not yet known as the state is currently formulating a development scheme which would stipulate how the land above and around the future train station would be developed.

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  • I don’t agree with their overall vision. Density is required to ensure commerical return is met. Their are plenty of adequate open spaces nearby. The proposed commerical residential towers will have roof top open space. The only thing that would be needed is an Aquatic Centre with spa and sauna facilities, that match the facilities in other States. This can be used as a training facility for the nearby teams that train at the Gabba, as well as for public use.

    • It’s state owned land, it doesn’t need to be commercially viable. Any proposal should consider the benefits to the immediate neighborhood and wider community more than how much money can be made out of selling apartments. Also, the apartments can only be sold once, meaning the govt. only makes money out of the land rights once, but if govt. maintains ownership and develops the site, any facility they build (especially sporting or community facilities) can then be rented out and there would be potential for perpetual return on investment. That sounds like a better deal than a bunch of apartments, of which nearly every site around this land has an apartment proposal already.

  • It could form part of a higher order Sport, Sport Training, Health and Living Precinct. Well connected transport with plenty of under-site parking. Taller slimmer towers with private living podiums would offset gfa required to ensure project viability. Queensland could have its state version of the Australian Institute of Sport…semi commercialising some aspects of outdoor space and other sporting stadiums.

  • I disagree, Andrew. Public green space is exactly what Woolloongabba needs more of. Roof top open space is no comparison.

    I personally think that this proposal is a far better solution.

  • I think that the common walk through area could use a water feature that kids/ crowds could use on hot qld summer days… even if is simple as water randomly coming out of the ground or a circular concept that Darling Harbor had….

  • They don’t need a soccer field or athletics track, they need two turf cricket wickets since the council kicked out coorparoo and gave their space to easts rugby who don’t even need it

  • I think it is right to question the intended use of this area. It’s public land, it’s a large area and nearly flat. It’s at a major public transport interchange and a rare opportunity to provide a public commons space, not a multitude of single use activities. Why does it need to provide a monetary return? Not being naive, but why not provide a large open area flat grassed parkland ringed by shade trees and fenced, and useful for open air activities, markets, Paniyiri type events, or just throwing a frisbee or laying on the grass. Our equivalent areas are not flat, are cluttered multi-use or nowhere near central public transport (eg. Davies Park, New Farm Park, or the nearby Raymond Park). Keep it simple. Think of Central Park, Hyde Park….. the Gabba Commons? Also, a more useful adjunct to the Cricket Ground for the public to congregate, remembering the Adele and Taylor Swift concerts. And if need be, put a basement carpark under it.

  • The proposal looks very adhoc with no clear theme. Lots of everything with not enough of anything to make it a draw card. Consider focussing on 2 or 3 things maximum.

  • Ah this proposal is so refreshing in the midst of the monotony of profit focused development providing for upper middle class and no-one else, and it makes sense it was initiated by the mind who brought the Victoria Park re-visioning idea to the table. I think the intent and theme is very singular and clear: true public community space, for community and citywide needs. Profit driven design and construction aims to build the bare minimum so some guy or a very small group can make a packet of money. Creating genuine community is not about profit for a small group, it’s about quality of space and housing for everyone, something that the structure of government is tasked to be responsible for. The fact that it’s above a major rail connection, making it accessible for people who don’t want to add to growing congestion; well that just ties this proposal together perfectly.

    • I do like the look of the plan especially the green spaces. However, I disagree with public housing being in one of the most sought after neighbourhoods. Public housing should be an interim “emergency” assistance, the location and quality of housing in this plan does not incentivise the tenant to try to get out of the situation. I’d rather have private developments being build instead.

  • I’d like to point out that this is a vision, not a concrete proposal, it’s indented to provoke discussion about the use of the land. Is some of the land perhaps over prescribed? probably yes, but so that people get the idea of what /could/ fit in the space.

  • They should look to the MCG precinct in Melbourne as a good blueprint. Multi integrated sports facilities and open green space, its an enormous space and much larger than the area contemplated here. Amazing connections into the city and surrounding neighborhoods (richmond, south yarra etc) which also allows spill development and demand in neighboring spaces. It may seem counter intuitive, but keeping this area well connected and with multiple social uses as opposed to giving into the temptation of onsite housing development, actually increases the attractiveness of surrounding land. Government should use this opportunity to preserve this space, leave developing for developers who can benefit from improvements in surrounding land. To some extent, combined with rezoning this is already happening at points around the gabba ground itself.

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