LUXURY property developer Gurner has reaffirmed its commitment to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley with the acquisition of three development sites on the back of its sold out $650 million FV project.
The Melbourne developer’s purchases include two lots in Alfred St, opposite FV and including the site of the State Government’s Community Mental Health Service, along with The Flying Cock Hotel in Brunswick St.
Gurner founder Tim Gurner said the additional $290 million-plus investment reflected the strong market outlook for Brisbane – and Fortitude Valley in particular.
The acquisitions take Gurner’s Valley pipeline to more than $920 million with a total of over 1,370 apartments under development.
“We have always loved Fortitude Valley,” he said.
“However after witnessing the amazing success of FV – which saw over half a billion dollars worth of sales transacted in under six months – we now know exactly what the market is after and we have a large database of potential buyers who missed out on FV who are eager to see what we do next.
“To me Fortitude Valley is a no brainer – being only 200m from the CBD, positioned literally on top of a major train station, surrounded by most of Brisbane’s most expensive suburbs and a thriving cafe, bar and restaurant culture, this precinct attracts the ideal demographic of 24 to 40 year olds.
“The existing night life, action, bohemian roots and culture can be polarising to some, and it has driven some developers away in the past, but that same essence is exactly what draws me in.”
Mr Gurner said he had been inspired by developer Aria Property Group, which had helped shape the South Brisbane skyline, and he was keen to replicate that type of transformation in Fortitude Valley.
An artist’s impression of Gurner’s FV development in Fortitude Valley.
“We feel very confident about the future of Fortitude Valley and we want to be a big part of its rejuvenation, similar to what Aria is doing for South Brisbane,” he said.
“When we first launched FV people laughed at us and said we’d never get the project off the ground.
“To now … be actively reinvesting into the area with two new development sites and actively looking for more, reaffirms our commitment to the Valley as the future of Brisbane’s luxury property market.”
The combined 1665sq m Alfred St sites include the property at 162 which has a long-term State Government lease in place. It was purchased on-market while the adjoining site at number 156 was purchased off-market from a separate entity.
Mr Gurner said the Alfred St acquisitions were part long-term strategy – due to the existing long-term lease – and part risk management in order to protect the quality of the precinct and views from the developer’s neighbouring FV project.
“When designing FV we spent tens of millions of dollars to really go the extra mile and ensure this project would set a new benchmark for luxury design, amenity and retail activation in the area,” he said.
“We have now purchased both sites to ensure we can continue to invest in the ongoing enhancement of the area and protect the views and quality of the precinct for our buyers.
“The last thing we wanted was for another developer to come in and deliver a product and design that did not live up to what we are trying to achieve in the precinct.”
Mr Gurner said the group was currently assessing the proposed design of the Alfred St project but it would be shaped to minimise the impact on FV’s view lines.
“Our buyers were all aware that the site was being sold, and we believe they will now be relieved that we have been able to secure the site, and the adjoining site as well, to ensure the quality they have come to expect from Gurner will be upheld.”
The 2872sq m Brunswick St site, with its river and city skyline views, will be developed into another luxury project with about 250 apartments.
Mr Gurner said the design team was investigating ideas for a sky bar, to be elevated above the building, and set to rival the best bars worldwide.
A restaurant precinct would be established on the ground floor.
Gurner will now embark on a pre-planning and design process with the Brunswick Street site slated for launch in 2016.
Long-time Gurner collaborative architect Callum Fraser from Elenberg Fraser will design both new projects.