The month in review: Brisbane
By Herron Todd White
Brisbane has been in a constant state of evolution since the mid-80s. We’ve certainly graduated beyond the ‘hick country cousins in the north’ status bestowed upon us by Sydney and Melbourne. Our city now hosts some of Oz’s finest restaurants and bars, and with a lifestyle and entrepreneurial spirit that would make Richard Branson blush.
On a micro level, gentrification has been the key to bringing our city suburbs to life. The hipster ethic is probably overused when trying to discuss area gentrification, but the fact remains – our property is relatively affordable. Hence, if you have a yearning to start a small business that can appeal to the edgier masses, Brisbane offers a buy-in price that should be just about right.
Think inner-city in Brisbane for the hottest areas.
Woolloongabba was a semi-industrial inner hub that couldn’t get its cool on for decades. While Southbank flourished post expo, ‘The Gabba’ was known mostly as the home of Queensland cricket, as well as the three-peat champion AFL Lions (GO THE LIONS!!!). Step beyond its mighty stadium and Woolloongabba was dominated by light industrial uses and modest cottages where noise from roads and the train line kept interest subdued. Fast forward and in the last half decade, the suburb has shone. The ‘Paris End’ of Logan Road has spawned a collection of antique outlets, eateries and cafés that are the envy of the cool kids. There’s been a heap of development as well and many new projects that are coming out of the ground such as the South City Square, which will add even bigger, better, faster and more to the area.
That’s not to say you should buy just anything in Woolloongabba. There are a lot of units coming out of the ground and portions of the suburb have been flood affected. Try and stick to the better quality spots if you want capital growth, such as detached homes in the Brisbane State High School catchment.
Feeding off Woolloongabba and heading a little further out sits Stones Corner. A refurbishment of the hotel over a decade ago and the long-running weekend markets probably didn’t quite fire interest in this area as much as the locals might have hoped. This has changed a little of late as truly cool record stores and clothing outlets continue to keep the place edgy enough for the hip crowd. There is new development on the cards for sure, but it really needs to see some momentum build before you would call it a truly gentrifying hub. If you’re interested, try and buy a detached home or a second hand unit with a little renovation potential.
Coorparoo is the next suburb along that’s worthy of mention. A major redevelopment of the old Myer site has been the suburb’s talking point for many years now and works are underway. When done, the project will bring retail, restaurants, a cinema and access to the busway. Just the ticket!
North of the river and we’ve been used to seeing Fortitude Valley drive the gentrification move. Beyond that, Bowen Hills and Newstead are certainly finding more and more of their old industrial sheds being divvied up between entertainment venues, restaurant and residential development.
The Hamilton reach area already has cool units in the Portside project, but it’s heading progressively along the river as old storage plots look set to become new residential and related facilities.
Albion is another area that’s becoming increasing sought after with its proximity to the CBD. Arden Property Group re-developing designated industrial areas within the locality with the 369 Jade residential unit development constructed across four buildings. Albion’s proximity to the CBD as well as being within cafe precincts such as Portside, Gasworks and James Street is proving popular with locals and investors.
The Eagle Farm Racecourse Precinct, Ascot is another area that has been given the green light for redevelopment with Mirvac being selected for the ten year master planned development known as Ascot Green ($950 million) which will provide retail, restaurants, residential units etc. Furthermore the Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade was announced not long after whereby providing improved access between the CBD and Hamilton Portside, the Trade Coast Area and Brisbane Airport.
Milton is an inner Brisbane suburb that was once missed by the cool suburbs bug, which seemed strange to the locals. There’s the Park Road café precinct, an easy stroll to the CBD and easy access to all the cool stuff Rosalie and Paddington has to offer. That said, noise from the surrounding road and train line, combined with the effects of flooding and some dominate light industrial uses, has probably been the reasons more buyers weren’t taking advantage of the enclave. There’s now a number of new residential unit complexes either under construction, proposed, or recently finished – all in the pocket east of Park Raod around Railway Terrace, Manning Street and Walsh Street. This area was traditionally occupied by a mix of commercial and industrial style sheds as well as established residential dwellings and a few smaller walkup designed unit complexes. Of note is the 30 level The Milton (295 units) which has just been completed and Savoir Faire Residences (65 units) that’s now completed. There’s also the sales and construction of Savoir Faire Residences II (another 65 units – both are over 14 levels) well underway, and Westmark Milton (277 units) with it’s build nearing the top levels in both towers. In addition there are a few slightly smaller five to ten level complexes around that precinct. A word of warning though – while this number of units coming online will be a push for more retail/cafe style strips further into Railway Street, an oversupply of apartments looms large in this particular pocket.
There are outer suburbs who look likely for a change as well. Certainly Chermside’s major business centre status has boosted it’s prospects with locals enjoying the spoils of developer attention. Even some locations like Everton Park are seeing bigger projects that are bringing in the punters.
For long shots worth keeping an eye on, check out Mitchelton and even Keperra. It could be some years off yet but interest is rising in these northern areas that should mean new business and increasing values.
Plenty there for you to muse over in our River City