Over the last 10 years, Brisbane’s inner city has come of age with the development of large-scale infrastructure projects and new precincts in areas like Brisbane City, West End, Bowen Hills, Hamilton and Newstead with prime emphasis on livability, economic growth and employment opportunity. As these exciting developments take shape around Brisbane, there is no sign of slowing down with a number of under-utilised sites in existence having the potential to continue Brisbane’s growth as a world class city.
Looking forward, we can note that there are two considerable sites that have not yet been subject to planning. These sites – Pauls’ Milk Factory in South Brisbane, and Royal on the Park in the Brisbane CBD have neither master plan nor any proposal for development. These are therefore likely to move to the top spot on the prediction of Brisbane’s next iconic site list.
Pauls’ South Brisbane Milk Factory is foremost in this respect. It is an under-utilised, prime riverfront site. It is currently occupied by the Italian-owned Parmalat milk processing facility but has been subject to proposals like Labor’s Southbank 2.0 and the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) proposal for a $1 billion Academy of Science.
Southbank 2.0 envisages the 27 hectare expansion of South Bank under the successful South Bank Corporation. It is a cash-neutral plan, with no cost to taxpayers which will include a new cultural institution, retail, dining and entertainment precinct, an Olympic size pool and aquatic play areas, with picnic and BBQ facilities, and more parkland.
The LNP proposal, if they win the next Queensland state election, is for what they describe as an “architectural icon” which will house an aquarium, a living forest, science displays, research and educational facilities and Australia’s new Natural History Museum.
Despite these notions, there has yet to be a serious proposal or actual government action to turn ideas into reality, however the Parmalat site represents high development potential with both projects bringing with them significant economic benefits to the river city.
The other site, the Royal on the Park, is a 7,275 square metre site on Alice Street, next to Brisbane City’s Botanical Gardens, and currently houses 153 hotel rooms. It was constructed in 1969 when it was known as the Park Royal Motor Inn, the nation’s largest motel of its time. It has been subject to flood, fire and changed development plans. As the nearby Abian residential apartment tower exemplifies, demand for park views that will not be built out remains as strong as ever. It seems only a matter of time before the market moves on the valuable Royal on the Park site, developing it to make way for something more iconic and contemporary.
A further site considered ready for redevelopment is the Myer Centre. It was opened in 1988 and exhibits little consideration for the likes of today’s pedestrian activity. The valuable, underused airspace above the ten storey building suggests that, in the much changed retail environment of today, it is a prime favourite for change which will modernise the space it occupies.
Brisbane is thereby brimming with possibilities for these kinds of exciting redevelopments as it moves toward establishing itself as the captivatingly attractive, southern hemisphere New Age city which is surely its destiny.