SOUTHPORT SET TO CEMENT CBD TITLE
Written on the 23 May 2014 by Jenna Rathbone
SOUTHPORT is fast regaining the city's highly contested CBD status with 20 new building developments in the pipeline following the State Government's announcement of the hub as a priority development area (PDA).
Member for Southport and Assistant Minister for Planning Reform, Rob Molhoek says Southport has always been the CBD of the Gold Coast, accounting for around 20 per cent of all jobs occurring within the electorate of Southport.
"There are nearly 40,000 people working in Southport and the average income for people working in the area is about $7,000 a year higher than the city wide average," he says.
"Southport is already an engine room of some sorts; it has just been unrecognised and underdeveloped."
Molhoek says his ultimate vision is to see Southport established as Queensland's second business capital outside of the Brisbane CBD.
Southport councilor Dawn Crichlow says the Gold Coast CBD Office and the announcement of the PDA is a win for developers looking to invest on the Gold Coast and current small business owners in Southport who want to expand.
"The designated office has town planners and economic development officers so anyone can go there to speak about any proposals for a development, for opening an office or a factory or anything else in Southport," says Cr Crichlow.
"The PDA means business owners in Southport have the flexibility to change their use or redevelop."
Half of the proposed developments have been approved by Gold Coast City Council, including a $60 million residential building by Brisbane-based developer Philip Usher Constructions, the developer behind the Southport H20 on Broadwater high-rise and which was last year named the state's largest residential builder.
The innovative project which appears to have two tiers, with the top larger than the bottom, is expected to feature 236 apartments and a variety of commercial premises including offices, retail shops, restaurants, a medical centre and language school.
Philip Usher Constructions development manager George Turner says the emerging lack of supply and apartment stock in the city and the renewed investor sector confidence in the Gold Coast property market instilled confidence to further invest in Southport.
"This is coupled with local and State Government initiatives to cement Southport as the city's CBD, and the associated push to deregulate land use and deliver specific development opportunities for the Southport PDA to support diverse commerce and economic growth," says Turner.
"Also, with Philip Usher Constructions having previously completed its successful twin tower project, H20 on Broadwater the company has a strong affinity with Southport."
David Geyer from Geyer Town Planning worked with Philip Usher Constructions to secure approval for the project, to be built on the corner of Marine Parade and North Street.
"The involvement of senior council planning and design staff in managing the application process, and who were empowered to make decisions, was the key to achieving timely resolution of issues and ultimately an expeditious approval process," he says.
The project is expected to create around 500 jobs.
Other developments coming on line include an approved $12 million, eight-storey high-rise residential apartment building at 43 Lenneberg Street and a 32-storey mixed-use tower on the corner of Scarborough Street, White Street and Owens Lane which is awaiting decision from council.
The developments add to the $5 billion in public and private investment in infrastructure in the area hat is currently driving the revitalisation of the historical CBD.
Investment to date includes the development of the Gold Coast light rail, Gold Coast Chinatown, Southport Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Gold Coast Institute of TAFE and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games facilities.The Gold Coast CBD team was established to provide development application assistance, general property advice, investment and business attraction opportunities and responds to general enquiries regarding the Southport PDA Development Scheme and development of the Gold Coast CBD.