Plans unveiled for $500m Brisbane River mixed-use precinct

Plans unveiled for $500m Brisbane River mixed-use precinct

6 April 2018

Chinese developer R&F Property Australia has unveiled amended plans to develop a $502 million mixed-use precinct and public riverside space at Brisbane’s West End, reports the AFR.

The revised masterplan for the 1.6-hectare site includes seven residential buildings comprising 1032 apartments, retail and commercial space with a projected end value of $502 million.

R&F acquired the amalgamated site from Brisbane developer Pointcorp in late 2015 for $82.5 million.

Former owner Dexus sold the site to Pointcorp for $26 million in 2013, declaring the land too contaminated for residential development.

The site originally had an approval for seven buildings and 981 apartments.

R&F Property Australia senior development manager Rodney Chadwick said the new masterplan specifically focusing on open riverside space.

“This development will create a new architectural and cultural landmark for West End, focusing on public enjoyment and the opportunity to promote and enrich public access along the Brisbane River between South Bank and Orleigh Park,” he told The Brisbane Times.

“Our current plans show a series of public, accessible open spaces comprising of shaded landscaped courtyards, activated laneways and major plaza, spilling down riverside walkway – spaces for pedestrians, which are designed to be activated by a range of retail services, dining and community uses.”

Along with more publicly accessible space, the new proposal includes more apartments than currently approved.

The revised masterplan would still have seven buildings but would have 1032 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments–50 more than currently approved.

A recent BIS Oxford Economics report revealed 8,300 apartments will be completed in Brisbane during 2017-18—a record for apartment completions in the city, notes The Australian.

Another 5,000 apartments are in the pipeline for 2019, putting downward pressure on prices and rents.

BIS Oxford Economics senior manager Ange Zigomanis said normally fewer than 2,000 apartments a year were built in inner Brisbane.

“We’re in a position now where rents are under pressure, prices are under pressure, off-the-plan purchasers and investors have fallen away so that’s impacting the next round of development,” Mr Zigomanis said.

“But that’s not going to have an impact on supply for at least a couple of years, so that’s when we’ll start to see vacancy rates tighten and improve in the Brisbane market.”

In a clear sign developers were seeing the writing on the wall, 52 projects amounting to more than 10,000 apartments had recently been abandoned or deferred in Brisbane.

Nevertheless, Mr Chadwick said R&F believed there was “long term demand for apartments and in particular this location.”

The company said the construction will be staged over six years

The Guangzhou-headquartered and Hong Kong-listed developer is renowned for its large international portfolio stretching from housing to hotels.

In recent times it was in the spotlight for snapping up 77 hotels from Chinese juggernaut Dalian Wanda for more than $3 billion, as part of Wanda’s selling spree.