No part of Australia was harder hit by the Global Financial Crisis than the Gold Coast but now, after years in the doldrums, the region is poised for a once-in-a-lifetime building boom.
Already, more than $6 billion in new projects are planned, with many backed by Chinese developers and following an 8-kilometre path alongside the year-old Gold Coast light rail.
Broadbeach accounts for the lion’s share of the projects, with a $4 billion investment into the suburb, while the rest are divided between Surfers Paradise and Southport.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that it had seen planning documents that showed Broadbeach could have up to 23 cranes operating at one time.
At least four projects, including the renovation of the shopping centre Pacific Fair and the $345 million Jupiters Hotel and Casino upgrade, will provide a guaranteed $1 billion economic boost from their construction.
In the last month alone it has been announced that the fading Niecon Plaza tower will be transformed into Albert Ave, a shopping and residential project, including two towers – one 35 storeys and the other 28 storeys.
According to plans lodged with the Gold Coast City Council, the towers would have 244 apartments with 372 bedrooms centred around the retail hub running from Broadbeach Mall to Albert Ave. There also would be 12 offices for commercial use.
The project has been put forward by Niecon Plaza Pty and Rockdune Pty Ltd, both linked with Brisbane-based developer and investor George Raptis.
At the same time, The Matrix, a 39 storey tower by ABL Property Group was approved for Broadbeach’s Philip Avenue. The tower will have 131 units, including a mixture of two and three-bedroom apartments.
They are just part of a spate of new developments planned for Broadbeach including the $10 million Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club redevelopment, $70 million tower Synergy and the $140 million Beach Apartments development.
The Broadbeach boom has arrived relatively late, after investors picked off old sites along the Southport section of the light-rail route, which is north of Broadbeach.
Southport, since being declared a Priority Development Area by the council in October 2013, has had 36 approvals for major developments.
In addition, there are preliminary approvals for projects such as the Star of the Sea; a multistage Meron St project previously known as Imperial City; and the Sienna development.
The multimillion-dollar Star of the Sea project is expected to become a resort and lifestyle precinct and has been proposed by the Chinese Huixin Real Estate Group, through Australian arm Garuda GC.
The Meron St project is proposed by developer Rob Badalotti’s Azzura International Constructions for a 1.3ha site on Ferry Rd.
While its design is yet to be determined, initial plans suggest it could feature up to six towers, including a flagship supertower of more than 100 storeys.
Mr Badalotti is a long-time Gold Coast developer who has owned the Meron St site since 2007.
In Southport, Sienna, a development by GMP Development, will feature a main tower of 88-levels and a smaller one of 40.
Located on a lot bordered by Nerang, Garden and Young streets that has been vacant since 1989, it will feature a mixture of accommodation, retail and commercial facilities as well as an events centre.
Despite fewer available sites, Surfers Paradise has at least 15 major projects being developed, including the $1 billion Jewel and the $600 million Sunland Mariner’s Cove.
Jewel (pictured in feature image) which is backed by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Hong-Kong listed Wanda Group is located on a 1.13 hectare beachfront site.
It will have 500 apartments, 171 hotel rooms and dozens of luxury retail precincts when completed.
Construction began in March this year and the project is expected to be finished by 2018.
The latest projects include the International Beach Resort along The Esplanade and redevelopment of the Sheraton Mirage after the Aquis Group acquired it for $160 million.