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Forme Reveals Second Project for Brisbane’s James Street


Queensland developer Forme has returned to Fortitude Valley’s up-market James Street precinct, lodging plans for a second development in as many months.

Late last year Forme lodged plans with the Brisbane City Council for an office, retail and dining complex across an amalgamated site between 75 and 85 James Street.

The developer has now revealed its intentions for a 1200sq m site at 31 Doggett Street, four blocks from its proposed James Street development.

The site, currently occupied by a 680sq m low-rise commercial building, will be redeveloped into a boutique residential building with 22 apartments.

It will feature four three-bedroom apartments per floor as well as two one-bedroom apartments on the building’s lower levels.

Forme has again turned to Richards and Spence, the Brisbane-based architecture firm behind the broader James Street precinct, including the 175-room, 5-star Calile Hotel, and James Street Market, to design its Doggett Street development.

Each three-bedroom apartment will include a private balcony to “take advantage of the local climate by maximising natural light and cross ventilation” as well as large bedrooms, kitchens and flexible living spaces.


▲ The boutique apartment building will include a communal rooftop area with dining facilities for gatherings and events. Image: Richards and Spence

The proposed six-level apartment building aims to extend the vibrant and popular James Street retail strip towards Teneriffe, connecting it with the burgeoning Commercial Road precinct.

The brutalist building, to be built from bright concrete and brick, will include four large ground floor retail tenancies targeted at high-end fashion brands, health and wellbeing as well as restaurants and cafes.

The sought-after James Street precinct currently has zero vacancy for retail tenancies.

It features a mix of more than 130 specialty shops, including a range of designer clothing such as Sass & Bide, Kookai, Zimmerman and Camilla, and homeware stores such as North American homewares retailer Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm.

Similarly to the Calile Hotel, the residential entrance to Forme’s 4000sq m building will be co-located with vehicle access from Doggett Street as a curved, covered plaza space.

The apartment building will have two basement levels with parking for 50 vehicles and will feature a central arcade linking the ground floor retail tenancies on Midvale Lane. It will be topped with a 25m rooftop pool, garden and lawn area.


▲ The building will include landscaped stairs for use as circulation and informal seating. Image: Richards and Spence 

Forme directors David Calvisi and Byron Griffith have been pursuing development opportunities in the blue-chip precinct, which is between the booming apartment markets of Newstead and Teneriffe, and the city centre.

The developer has worked with brothers Cal and Michael Malouf— the developers responsible for The Calile and broader James Street precinct—to creating additional residential, retail and office opportunities on James Street.

In September, after consultation with the Maloufs, Forme lodged plans for a similarly scaled 6100sq m commercial building which will include 11 ground floor retail tenancies and office space.

Forme pieced together the 2600sq m James Street site between June 2020 and November 2020.

The Richards and Spence-designed office building will feature a central piazza and arcade linking James Street and Southwick Lane at the rear of the building.

The developer also remains active on the Gold Coast after recently concluding construction on Norfolk—a 10-level residential building of just 15 apartments on Goodwin Terrace in Burleigh Heads, designed by architect Koichi Takada.

On a neighbouring site Forme has sold out all eight full–floor residences of its under-construction Luna development, designed by Plus Architecture and Mim Design, for a combined $37 million.

Meanwhile, at 96 The Esplanade, Forme has plans for a $107-million, Koichi Takada-designed, 18-storey apartment tower, dubbed SEA.

That 1000sq m site, which was amalgamated by Forme over six months, is currently home to a low-rise unit block. It is directly across the road from beachfront parklands.


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$130 million Wynnum CBD apartment development proposed

Wynnum CBD apartment development, Ora tower

The Brisbane-based property developer, HamBros, led by local developer Justin Ham, has lodged plans for a 27-level mixed-use development in the heart of Wynnum.

Ora, which will spread across a 7,278 sqm site at 74 Charlotte Street and 89 Bay Terrace, will be built behind the existing Wynnum Shopping Centre.

Ora, meaning ‘edge’ in Latin, has been designed by Ivory Collective and will comprise 275 apartments, with the amalgamation also planned to be home to retail space, as well as two-levels of commercial space.

“Ora is a development that intertwines the beautiful bayside environment of Wynnum with the ease and luxury of unit living,” architecture firm Ivory Collective noted in their design statement in the development application.

There will be 275 apartments in the development, made up of 54 one-bedroom, 148 two-bedroom and 67 three-bedroom apartments, along with six three-bed plus multi-purpose-room penthouses.

Ora’s floor plate is designed to orientate and capture as much of the East as possible, allowing for maximum exposure to the easterly breezes and bay views.

Wynnum CBD apartment development, Ora tower proposed

A full recreation level is planned for level five, with a 528 sqm restaurant and bar, set around an expansive pool terrace as well as a wet deck, space, sauna and steam rooms, private cabanas, a cinema, barbecues, meeting rooms, wine rooms and function spaces.

“The recreational level on Level 5 creates a space for both the public and residents alike to enjoy the beautiful bay views and surroundings,” the statement added.

Drawing inspiration from the Wynnum foreshore in both its material and palette and building form, Ora is made up of clean off-white concrete and bronzed feature cladding and batten, reflecting the warmth and clarity of the Wynnum/Manly beach front, Ivory Collective noted.

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Barwon secures Princess Alexandra Hospital car park

Barwon secures Princess Alexandra Hospital car park

Barwon Investment Partners has snapped up a multi-level car park and medical centre on a site with significant development upside opposite Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The Woolloongabba asset at 250 Ipswich Road is setting the healthcare focused fund manager back around $95 million, reflecting a circa four per cent net passing yield.

The property contains an eight level, 773-bay garage attached to a two floor wellness centre with 21 tenancies, anchored to Gabba Dermatology, Brisbane Cardiology and Allied Health; the Weighted Average Lease Expiry is nearly seven years.

A pedestrian overpass connects the building to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, also a major teaching campus, employing 6810.

The 5106 sqm block has significant upside – up to 15 storeys based on its zoning, according to JLL’s Seb Turnbull, Elliott O’Shea and Simon Quinn, who marketed the asset with a Blight Rayner scheme.

BIP invests again

Established in 2006, BIP holds a property portfolio worth $2.3 billion.

Its medical related product, much held in a Healthcare Property fund, is priced at about $1.4b as at March, 2022.

Seven months ago, for the trust, the manager paid Forza Capital $34.7m for a South Brisbane medical centre – not far from 250 Ipswich Rd – and two Canberra assets including Belconnen’s Ginninderra Medical & Dental Centre on nearly a hectare.

Also late last year BIP spent $75m for a 12 level St Kilda Rd office majority leased to Alfred Health.

More to come.



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Brisbane’s Office Market Greenlit for Business

Brisbane’s Office Market

Brisbane’s office market continues to shake off the pandemic doldrums with two new commercial towers approved in the CBD and fringe suburbs.

Property owner PGIM and development partner Indema’s plan for a bold adaptive reuse of a 1970s commercial building at 444 Queen Street has won approval.

The bronze 22-storey tower opposite Customs House will be stripped back to its core structure and completely remodelled with a new podium, curtain wall facade and an additional two-storey sculptural canopy.

Indema director Michael Bruderlin said they would be targeting a net zero certification for the building upon completion in the first quarter of 2024.

Bruderlin said Hutchies had been engaged in an early contractor design and construct contract to help de-risk the project and better understand the technical requirements.

The Fender Katsalidis-designed tower follows in the footsteps of another of its commercial adaptive reuse projects in Brisbane, Ashe Morgan’s Midtown, now the headquarters for Rio Tinto.

Bruderlin said retaining and repurposing the existing building is 400 per cent more environmentally friendly. Retaining the existing concrete structure provides a 70 per cent saving in embodied carbon.

The project will rejuvenate a 48-year-old building at the end of life into an A-grade commercial office asset and increase the net leasable area 40 per cent.

Bruderlin said the project would have a quicker turnaround than a normal demolish and build project and it would use clever design initiatives to increase floor plates and create a better value proposition for the asset.

PGIM purchased 444 Queen Street for $54.4 million from the Public Trustee of Queensland and Abacus Property Group in October last year.

Cornerstone has also won approval for a commercial development in the city fringe suburb of Fortitude Valley.

The Bureau Proberts-designed tower will capture the heritage brick character of the Fortitude Valley centre “borrowing from the intent of these buildings but with a stridently different and contemporary expression”, planning documents said.

“This approach is a deliberate counterpoint to the strong and solid brick structures of the immediately adjacent 47 Warner Street and McWhirters buildings.

“Brickwork or masonry is not used as a material in deference to these neighbouring buildings allowing them to become more evident and make a clear statement about the era of their inception.”

The 28-storey commercial tower at 251 Wickham Street features a stepped slanting facade fronting Warner Street, with a four-storey lobby, and an inverted podium.

There will also be a rooftop terrace, 20m pool and open-plan gym in the commercial tower, with retail offerings at the base of the building.

Brisbane’s metropolitan office market vacancy was at 16.3 per cent at the end of March and there were few transactions across the quarter, according to Colliers research.

But yields remained steady, and well above other capital cities, while incentives remained stagnant at 40 per cent.



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