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7 first impressions of Brisbane’s new City Plan




Today, Brisbane City Council released the revised Brisbane City Plan to the general public.

As developers and town planners review the implications of the new plan, leading planning and design firm Place Design Group provide their 7 first impressions below:

Impression # 1 – We are getting there

The Revised Draft of the City Plan is much closer to a scheme which is capable of taking Brisbane and its development forward for the next 10+ years. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Amanda Cooper and the City Plan Team within Council should be congratulated for their sensible revisions to the Draft Scheme.

Impression # 2 – Council is Listening

The industry was very vocal about some of the provisions or approaches contained within the original draft scheme, particularly in relation to changes which would affect project viability and affordability. We are pleased to see that Council has taken much of this feedback onboard and small and significant changes have been made throughout the updated draft to address these industry concerns.

Impression # 3 – Carparking Demand is not the same across the entire city and shouldn’t be provided this way.

Council has accepted the evidence and facts provided through detailed research (including work by PLACE Design Group commissioned by Council) and by the industry, in relation to car parking rates for multiple unit dwellings. Council has sensibly gone away from a blanket city wide parking rate, recognising that demand and usage of cars is less in the City Centre, City Frame and in proximity to public transport nodes. The revised scheme provides parking rates that are appropriate for their location and at rates that are equal or less than the City Plan 2000, which is a great outcome.

In addition, a reduction to the required visitor parking rates across the city to a rate of approximately 1 space per 7 units as opposed to 1 space per 4 units under the City Plan 2000 is a very positive step forward that will see improvements to how projects are delivered.

Impression # 4 – Front loaded community engagement is enough

Council has made a key step forward by making multiple unit dwellings code assessable in those parts of the city appropriately zoned for those uses and densification. Gone are the days of Council hedging their bets by saying units are encouraged but then still making them run the gauntlet of community objection and potential appeals. Providing the units comply with their nominated maximum building heights, developers will be able to take certainty in their projects and development rights conveyed by the actual Planning Scheme. Previous work by PLACE Design Group has illustrated that this change alone could see savings greater than $10K on the cost per unit, which is a big win for affordability.

Impression # 5 – Neighbourhood Planning is important, but not the only way for large scale brownfield or major projects to occur.

The strategic framework within the original draft of the City Plan 2014, placed significant emphasis upon Councils’ established Neighbourhood Planning processes as being the only way to facilitate new planning and redevelopment around the city. Now whilst their Neighbourhood Planning process is well recognised as being best practice, many examples were put up by the industry of major projects or precincts that have redeveloped over time, without the benefit of a preceding Neighbourhood Plan.

Council has reflected this fact by acknowledging that development may be able to proceed where a comprehensive planning process has been completed which has been undertaken on a precinct approach with community consultation and consideration of the planning matters consistent with the scope of a neighbourhood plan prepared by the Council. This is a great outcome and acknowledges that developer lead development and planning is a viable alternate to Council’s processes.

Impression # 6 – The KISS principle of Keeping it Simple

The updated draft of the scheme has consolidated a number of development codes that were previously quite repetitive or confusing as to which code to use where and when. This consolidation and simplification of the codes will aid in simplifying the application draft and assessment process.

Impression # 7 – Small Freehold Lots are a Viable Alternative to units or sprawl.

The Amended City Plan will facilitate new smaller freehold blocks of land to be created throughout the city. The amended plan has retreated somewhat from the original draft by now limiting those smaller blocks in low density areas to those areas within 200m of centres with a minimum area of 2000sqm, but the intention for the rest of the city is clear. That smaller freehold blocks of land with single detached houses can be delivered whilst retaining our suburban and subtropical character, and facilitating more affordable housing in our city.

PLACE Design Group is a leading international planning, design and environment consultancy with offices in Australia, China and South-East Asia. 

You can read the full City Plan here. 



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Property Group Buys Land Plots for Development in Brisbane’s North



Property Group Buys Land Plots for Development in Brisbane’s North
Brisbane-based property group, CFMG capital has acquired two land parcels in Brisbane’s growing northern corridor to develop a 130-lot residential project.

The land parcels total 6.72-hectares at Graham Road, Morayfield, and each lot will provide a new house ranging from 300 to 687sq m. The acquisition will take CFMG’s pipeline to more than 1,000 lots across Queensland and Victoria.

CFMG managing director Scott Watson said pre-release marketing had generated strong sales enquiry from both owner -occupiers and local volume builders looking to secure land for their clients.

“The momentum of the project is expected to continue with official data indicating the demand for quality affordable projects in strong growth corridors forecast to continue,” he said.

Since 2009 Morayfield has experienced an average of 2.5 per cent population growth, higher than the state average of 1.8 per cent.

The project also benefits from close proximity parkland facilities, schools, childcare, shopping centres, specialty retailers and public transport networks.

CFMG Capital operates two core divisions: a residential communities’ development business and residential funds management business which has raised more than $90 million in third party equity.

According to the company, sales in Morayfield have already been strong with 40 pre-sales already in place and current contract exchanges totaling a sales value of $7.2 million.

In the first half of the 2017-18 financial year CFMG secured more than 200 sales across six separate projects in Queensland and Victoria.

“Through most of calendar year 2017 we saw significant spikes in both enquiry and ultimately sales, and as a result we were able to achieve incremental price growth across multiple projects without noticeable impact on sales rates,” he said.

“Particularly in the back half of 2017, there was a strong appetite for land registering in early 2018 which could attract a premium price.

CFMG recently secured a 6.8-hectare land parcel in Bridgeman Downs, 12 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD.

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$250 million mixed-use development a boon for north Brisbane suburb



$250 million mixed-use development a boon for north Brisbane suburb

Richards and Spence has incorporated elements such as the corner clock tower to make the development feel more like a “village” and less like a shopping centre. Image: Richards and Spence

Moreton Bay Regional Council has given the green light to a 1.7-hectare mixed-use development which will transform one of Queensland’s fastest growing areas.

With Brisbane-based practice Richards and Spence as lead architects, the Laguna development will be built in the heart of the suburban area of North Lakes, 26 km north of Brisbane.

It will feature 5,000 square metres of fashion, food and beverage retail space; a 140-room hotel; 2,000 square metres of health and wellness facilities; a 1,500-square-metre “resort-style” restaurant and bar; a convention and events centre and a publicly accessible aquatic centre with a lagoon-style pool.

Laguna by Richards and Spence features a publicly accessible aquatic centre with a lagoon-style pool. Image:  Richards and Spence.

Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland said at the time of approval that the project would add to the 7,700 jobs in the North Lakes area, provide public green space and bolster the suburb’s reputation.

Originally part of Mango Hill, North Lakes was gazetted as a separate suburb in 2006, with its name derived from the masterplanned estate developed by property group Stockland. The suburb’s population has since grown exponentially, with the 2011 census recording a population of 15,046 and the 2016 census recording 21,671 people living in the area.

Richard and Spence director Ingrid Richards said “middle-ring” or “fringe” suburbs such as North Lakes often lack the cultural and social amenity associated with living close to the city. She said that as Australian cities grow outwards, developers, retailers and councils alike have “not just an opportunity but an obligation to help alleviate this shortcoming.”

“It’s critically important to provide quality retail and mixed-use amenity for the population that will call these areas home,” she said.

The Laguna development is intended to deliver this amenity all in one go. Richards said, “It’s got a complexity, and it’s got a depth to it as a suburb, as a fully functioning place.”

The precinct will be centred on a tree-lined, pedestrian-orientated high street, to be known as Laguna Drive, which will feature retail, cafe and outdoor dining space.

“We’re trying to raise the bar of what is good public space, of what is a good, exciting, engaging retail environment,” Richards said.

The two office buildings, designed by Nettleton Tribe. Image:  Nettleton Tribe

In addition to the retail and hospitality offerings, the project will also feature 10,500 square metres of office space across two buildings designed by Nettleton Tribe.

Richards said it was vital that jobs were created through the development.

“As a complete, masterplanned development…you can actually work there,” she said. “Everyone’s not necessarily driving to Brisbane for work, because there is business there. So, it’s not just a housing development, and that’s an important distinction to make.”

The project is being developed by the George Group in conjunction with Pointcorp.

Construction of the project is planned to commence in early 2018, with completion slated for late 2020.

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Moreton Bay Regional Council makes decision on North Lakes commercial precinct



moreton development

DEVELOPERS of the proposed Laguna North Lakes commercial precinct will have six years to begin the project after getting council approval today.

The council this morning adopted a ­Material Change of Use ­application for the development at its coordination committee meeting at Strathpine.

The application is for a catering premises, commercial services, convention centre, hotel, indoor recreation, licensed club, ­occasional market, office, restaurant and shop.

An artist’s impression of the Laguna North Lakes development.

It was lodged by Wolter Consulting Group with the Council listed as the owner of the site, which covers land at 28-40 North Lakes Drive, 10 The Corso and 75 Lakefield Drive.

The application was ­initially lodged on May 19.

Council planners, in the report to council, said it would be a high-quality mixed-use development.

The proposed development, which would cover the 1.72ha site, would be constructed over four stages, the report stated.

“The proposal seeks to create a unique experience in the North Lakes area, ­establishing a boutique ­retail, dining and lifestyle precinct in the heart of North Lakes,” it stated.

“The proposal will ­contain a total gross floor area of 34,892sq m and consist of five new buildings ranging in height from two storeys up to six storeys.

An artist’s impression of the lagoon pool at Laguna North Lakes.

“The tallest buildings ­include the hotel and function centre and the commercial office towers (six storeys) which front The Corso and North Lakes Drive respectively.

“The development will be supported by a multi-level basement carpark, which will be integrated with the existing basement carpark situated beneath the existing council library.

“A new laneway (Laguna Drive) is proposed to connect The Corso and Lakefield Drive, internal to the site, which will enhance ­accessibility for users by providing short-term parking options and passenger set-down.”

The report recommended councillors approve the ­development, subject to amendments and conditions.

One of the recommended amendments was for a taxi rank set-down area adjacent to the function centre lobby. This would be designed to include either a drop-off/pick-up zone or a dedicated parking bay capable of accommodating a taxi suitable for use by people with ­disabilities.

The $250 million project first made headlines in ­December last year when it was announced Pointcorp and the George Group would develop the land, that at the time was being used for car parking.

Mayor Allan Sutherland said at the time the ­eventual sale price of the land would be $7.7 million and the developers were to pay a $700,000 deposit on a four-year lease.

A leasing campaign to ­attract retail and commercial tenants was launched in May.

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