Plans for a 17,000-seat entertainment arena to be built above the new Roma Street underground station has received a boost from the Queensland government.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad announced on the weekend that $5 million will be committed to developing a business case for the Brisbane Live proposal which would be developed in conjunction with the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.
“Brisbane Live!” an open-air precinct like Melbourne’s Federation Square, would be built above the existing Roma St rail lines under the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority in partnership with AEG Ogden’s Harvey Lister.
The business case is expected to take approximately 6 months to complete and will assist the Queensland government in determining whether value-for-money can be achieved by developing the Brisbane Live proposal.
The business case will be jointly prepared by Building Queensland and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority, which is doing the master planning work for the Roma St precinct.
The Delivery Authority will invest the $5 million in the development of a detailed business case which will examine construction cost, economic benefits, delivery and procurement options.
The Cross River Rail will build a new underground rail station at Roma Street Parklands as part of an underground link from Annerley to the RNA Exhibition Grounds at Bowen Hills.
Jackie Trad said that the project was demonstrative of the potential that Cross River Rail has to transform Brisbane.
“Brisbane Live is a proposal for a 17,000-seat world class entertainment arena, similar to the LA Live complex, which would become Queensland’s premier entertainment venue hosting international live entertainment and world class sporting events,” Trad said.
“Brisbane Live is a very exciting proposal that will deliver decades of economic and employment opportunities in what is an underused part of the city.”
AEG Ogden’s Harvey Lister said he was proud to be partnering with the Government in the development of the business case under an Early Operator Engagement agreement, utilising AEG Ogden’s expertise.
“We’re thrilled the Queensland Government has engaged AEG Ogden under an Early Operator Engagement agreement with Cross River Rail Delivery Authority,” Lister said.
“As a proud Queensland company, AEG Ogden has confirmed its commitment to this project by offering to provide access to the extensive work we have already undertaken for the development of the Roma Street precinct, and our expert advice and information into the Business Case for no fee.
“Brisbane Live will deliver much needed economic development and employment opportunities, virtually unprecedented urban renewal, and be a showpiece venue for the entire State.”
Jackie Trad has called upon the Federal Government to put up funding for Cross River Rail with the Federal Budget to be handed down on Tuesday.
BrewDog’s $30m Brisbane Brewery Gets Green Light
Brisbane City Council has granted approval to Scottish craft brewer BrewDog for a $30 million brewery development in eastern Brisbane’s Murarrie which will produce 10 million litres of beer each year.
BrewDog submitted the application to council in March after deciding on Brisbane to be the home of its first Australian brewery.
The brewery development will be located at 77 Metroplex Avenue, and will include a production brewery, tap room and restaurant. The development would cover 28 per cent of the 15,340 square metre site.
One of the conditions of approval was for the food and drink shop element to be restricted to trade from 7am to midnight. The rest of the operation will be 24 hours.
The application was considered code assessable and not requiring a period of public consultation though one objection was received.
BrewDog is preparing for a period of accelerated growth in the UK and internationally as the craft beer movement gathers steam.
The number of breweries in the UK has more than doubled from around 800 in 2010 to more than 2,000 last year, and craft beer now makes up 6.5 per cent of UK beer sales.
The Brisbane facility will be its third brewing facility after Columbus, Ohio and its headquarters in Ellon, Scotland.
BrewDog’s growth has been fuelled by its record-breaking “Equity for Punks” crowdfunding investment initiative, which has seen the brewery raise more than £55 million since 2009.
The brewer’s flagship beer Punk IPA has been the best-selling craft beer in the UK off-trade for the last three years.
“BrewDog’s decision to make Brisbane home is another vote of confidence in our city as a great place to live, work and invest, and will complement our strong local craft beer industry that includes Newstead Brewing and Green Beacon,” Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said.
“Not only will the site provide product Australia-wide, but the company has hinted at potential future export to New Zealand and Asia.”
The brewery is set to generate 150 jobs in the Brisbane area over the next five years, with approximately 60 jobs during construction.
The 3,250sq m facility will provide more than 100 car parking spaces and is expected to be completed later this year, ahead of production commencing in 2019.
Cladding Fire Risk for 12,000 Queensland Buildings, UK Calls for Cladding Ban
As many as 12,000 Queensland buildings could have been built with the same flammable cladding blamed for London’s Grenfell Tower fire.
A year-long inquiry was set up by the state government after the 2017 Grenfell disaster – when 71 people, including two Australians, died – to determine how many buildings carry the aluminium composite panels in Queensland.
The taskforce has found that approximately 880 buildings will need further investigation with at least 70 requiring rectification work.
An additional 12,000 privately-owned buildings, including about 1,200 residential structures are currently being assessed.
Queensland’s Housing and Public Works Minister, Mick de Brenni, told the ABC that while it would cost the government millions to complete rectifications, they could not put a price on safety.
“We can’t put a dollar figure on the lives of Queenslanders so we’ll be making sure all buildings within the scope are assessed.”
“If there are private buildings that are found to be a risk through this process, then we are prepared to legislate to require rectification if necessary,” he said.
Two Australians were among the 71 victims who died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June last year.
The taskforce had also been asked to submit evidence to the Grenfell Tower inquiry in the United Kingdom.
“We are now internationally recognised as having the most sophisticated approach to dealing with combustible cladding,” he said.
A previous audit found that about 1,400 non-government buildings in Victoria possibly had aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core or expanded polystyrene panels.
UK government to deliberate on cladding ban
Senior engineer and chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Dame Judith Hackitt, has come under scrutiny for her 156-page review of regulations and fire safety, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
The fire was started by a faulty refrigerator on 14 June 2017 and killed 71 people.
The government-commissioned independent report has called for a “radical rethink” of the safety system.
The contents of the report have argued that an outright ban on combustible building materials would only solve one issue.
It claims that four key factors contributed to the “system failure” during renovation works: ignorance about existing regulation and guidance; indifference about public safety; lack of clarity on the responsibility of roles; and inadequate rule enforcement.
“These issues have helped to create a cultural issue across the sector, which can be described as a ‘race to the bottom’ caused either through ignorance, indifference, or because the system does not facilitate good practice,” said Hackitt in relation to the report.
“If people attach too much reliance upon banning activities and particular materials as being a solution to this problem it will create a false sense of security.”
Responding to the report, the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA) said the report was a “missed opportunity”.
The debate continues on whether or not aluminium cladding is used for thermal insulation, weather proofing, or as an integral part of the fabric, fire safety and integrity of the building.
Hackitt’s report claims too much focus has been placed on the faults of the cladding rather than on reviewing the system as a whole.
Just a few hours after the report was published, the UK government announced it will consider banning flammable cladding.
“I was looking at putting in place a new framework. That’s what I’ve done and that now creates the basis on which the work on the detail on the guidance, the work on the detail of the regulation can be done and there’s no reason why that can’t start now,” Hackitt said.
Earlier this week, UK prime minister Theresa May announced the government would foot the £400 million (AU$719.5 million) bill of removing and replacing dangerous cladding on existing apartment towers.
Cromwell Sees Increasing Demand for Space at Brisbane CBD Tower
In the past 12 months, Cromwell has signed more than 13 new leasing deals at its 20-level office tower, 200 Mary Street asset, predominantly with ASX-listed professional services companies, with the tower now close to 90 per cent occupancy.
Among the new tenants joining long-standing occupants Arthur J Gallagher, Australian Associated Press, and Retire Australia is financial services firm IOOF, AGL, Computershare, and engineering consultants Northrop.
Brisbane office market’s ‘flight to quality’
In its most recent Office Market Report, the Property Council of Australia revealed that Brisbane was one of only two CBD office markets to experience rising vacancies over the six months to January 2018, as demand for lower grade stock fell.
Vacancy across the CBD has increased over the period from 15.7 to 16.2 per cent.
PCA Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said that higher-grade office space recorded positive tenant demand over the last six months, with a distinct “flight-to-quality” being observed in the data.
“While Brisbane CBD vacancy is currently high, there are plenty of tenant expressions of interest in the market, so there are positive signs over the horizon.”
Cromwell head of property Bobby Binning said the recent deals at 200 Mary Street highlighted the increasing popularity of sub-500 square metre space in the Central Business District.
“Demand has increased in the past few years, particularly from companies looking for creatively designed fitted tenancies of high quality to cater for the growing needs of these professional services firms,” Binning said.
Further catering to the needs of smaller tenancies, Mary Street incorporates end of journey facilities and the Cromwell Business Hub, run in partnership with Regus, which provides a conference facility, meeting rooms and flexible co-working space for tenant customers.
Director of Caden Office Leasing David Prosser and Collier International’s Kelly Moon acted on behalf of Cromwell on the leasing deals.
Cromwell purchased the Mary Street asset in 2001 and has since undergone extensive modernisation and refurbishment.
Early this year Singapore-based ARA Asset Management Limited acquired a 19.5 per cent stake in Cromwell Property Group in a $405 million deal which should assist both companies with their local and overseas ambitions.
Cromwell is seeing to boost its European presence where ARA has established a European platform, and also strengthen its new Asian unit.
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