In our last post, we talked about sleeping giants and the potential that Beenleigh harbours to become a significant commercial centre.
Today, we want to talk about the Gold Coast; a city with projects worth billions of dollars in the development pipeline that is set to undergo major transformation, much of it at the hands of Chinese interests.
Renewal on the Gold Coast has been engendered by three factors.
The first was the awarding to the city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which brought with it the commensurate need for additional infrastructure, both in the way of sporting facilities and improved transport systems. The second was the election of Mayor Tom Tate, a pro-development figure, who introduced significant changes on which we are about to focus. The third was the decision of the State Government to grant Southport, the city’s oldest business district, Priority Development Area status.
A number of consecutive councils had taken the view that the business district of Robina, Australia’s first masterplanned suburb, should be allowed to eclipse Southport. Indeed, the council signed up to purchase a site in the Robina business district to build a new headquarters. The plan was abandoned by the Tate-led council, which acquired and refurbished office towers at Bundall, close to the local government authority’s existing central city facilities, which occupy a site now earmarked for a cultural centre.
Among the first actions of the Tate council, elected during the stultifying downturn in development kindled by the global financial crisis, was the slashing of infrastructure charges, which prompted a flurry of applications and approvals. It also revisited planning regulations for the central city, removing height restrictions in three core centres: Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Now, let us look at what these changes have engendered.
For Southport, as of August last year, 47 development applications had been lodged with the council that had an estimated value of $2.5 billion. Along with a plethora of mid-rise projects are a 30-storey and a 32-storey tower that are to be complemented by three major developments.
A 1.5ha blue-chip Marine Parade site has been acquired by China’s Huixin Real Estate Group. The Group plans to transform the site into a resort and lifestyle precinct that will boast high-rise towers with shopping and dining precincts, office space and education facilities, along with resort accommodation and permanent-living apartments.
Also, on the suburb’s north-south thoroughfare of Ferry Road, Gold Coast construction industry figure Robert Badalotti has gained approval to develop three towers, of 104 storeys, 85 storeys and 75 storeys. They will deliver 2,500 apartments and 50,000 sqm of office and education space, and are earmarked for a 1.3ha site that, at present, hosts the Badalotti family’s Mercato on Ferry shops and offices precinct.
Also, two 44-level towers are mooted by Sunland for the Mariners Cove site beside the Marina Mirage shopping and dining precinct on the Southport Spit where, until now, development has been confined to three storeys. The Hong Kong-based Aquis Group acquired The Spit’s Sheraton Mirage hotel some time ago and has its sights set on redevelopment of the property.
Then, there is the site of the former Gold Coast Hospital. It was placed on the market by the State Government following opening in September 2014 of the city’s Gold Coast University Hospital beside its Griffith University campus. What the site will host in the future remains an unknown for now.
In Surfers Paradise, developments include the $1 billion three-tower Jewel project, now under construction on Old Burleigh Road at the hands of China’s Ridong and Wanda groups. An 88-level building is earmarked by Chinese-owned Forise Holdings for the beach-facing Trickett Street site of the former Iluka tower. The 285m tower will have 693 apartments and three podium levels with shops and eateries.
Also, a 19-storey building has been approved for Chevron Island where a four-storey office building is the tallest at present.
At Broadbeach, Star Entertainment is planning a 25-storey tower for land beside its Jupiters casino. A swag of low-rise and mid-rise developments also are planned for the area.
The Gold Coast projects are complemented by the $200 million expansion and redevelopment of Broadbeach shopping centre Pacific Fair, a $20 million expansion and makeover at the Harbour Town centre at Biggera Waters and refurbishment of the section of Southport’s Pacific Fair shopping centre on the western side of Scarborough Street; an area that the council has earmarked for a Chinatown precinct.
Gold Coast Infrastructure projects have included:
- Completion of the $1.6 billion Broadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital first stage of the city’s light-rail system, which is to be extended to Helensvale to link with the Brisbane-Gold Coast rail line;
- Redevelopment of the Southport pool beside the Broadwater to host Commonwealth Games swim events; and
- Expansion of facilities at Metricon Stadium and additional sporting facilities near the Dreamworld theme park.
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