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Media | Principal Jeff Brown spoke with Urban Developer about the new era beckoning for Brisbane’s West End.

Insight
13.06.2024Lucy

New Era Beckons for Brisbane’s West End

This article was originally published in www.theurbandeveloper.com by Renee Mckeown

Developers are doing a vibe-check on one of Brisbane’s most grungy and alternative suburb as apartment living rises to 75 per cent of its population.

Once described as a “honeypot for humans”, West End is known for its inclusive nightlife, migrant appeal and Queensland style with the its main artery, Boundary Street, the epicentre.

But with rapid growth and development, can that vibe survive?

In the past, NIMBY-ism, petitions and protests made West End one of the more difficult suburbs in the River City for development.

However, there is a growing desire to develop and retain the neightbourhood’s character.

This property at 205 Boundary Street, West End has come to market for the first time in about eight decades.

This month, 205 Boundary Street, a 374sq m corner-site property comprising a two-storey building with multiple tenants, came to market.

Listing agent C Property principal Carl Charalambous says all property in West End is tightly held and it was even more rare for a freestanding building to be put up for sale.

“Most owners have had their properties for a long time—the owners of this one bought it about 80 years ago,” Charalambous tells The Urban Developer.

“They decided the time is right, the family is getting on in age and it is a good time to divest.

“West End is gentrified but it is also still grungy and a bit run-down, which is what people like, rather than being too polished like New Farm and those areas where it is a bit showy—it’s more authentic here.

“Whenever we get a seller in West End who is serious about selling it’s not hard to find buyers.”

Charalambous says some of the Australia’s higher-profile developers were now in the neighbourhood, including Aria.

“Sekisui House down at West Village has transformed that little pocket of Boundary Street,” he says.

Charalambous says he recently sold two sites, one on the river side and the other in central South Brisbane, to the same (unnamed) developer.

“People identify West End and South Brisbane together, they fuse as they [share a border] and it’s the same vibe,” he says.

It is safe to say West End and South Brisbane are hot property. In other deals across the inner-south, Pellicano has recently settled on a motel it acquiried at 55 Boundary Street, South Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Pyco Group sold 80 per cent of its Atelier project in December, months before construction began. It will replace a backpackers at 110 Vulture Street with 36 vertical townhouses.

There are now now 75.8 per cent of people living in apartments at West End and 93.5 per cent at South Brisbane according to ABS and Census data.

And West Village, Centuria Capital Group’s retail precinct in the former Peter’s Ice Cream and Cone factory, was named one of the world’s most beautiful shopping malls late last year.

The ASX-listed group picked up the Bureau^Proberts-designed 16,560sq m offering in early 2022 for about $202 million. It is within Sekisui’s master planned development.

The Uno five-bedroom penthouse in the developer’s The Allere Collection designed by Rothelowman is on the market now for $6.6 million.

Rothelowman principal Jeff Brown both lives and designs in West End, which has been an interesting process during the past 20 years.

“We are very familiar with the rapid change that occurred in that period,” he tells The Urban Developer.

“You could probably count on one hand the apartment buildings across Brisbane in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s … things started to change in the late ’90s.”

Brown says the first generation of migrants to Australia had become older in that period and started to move on from the area, which used to be less expensive and attractive as a result.

“A new wave of immigration is supplementing that and there’s still a very rich history of Greeks, Italians and Vietnamese here,” he says.

Rothelowman designed the Trellis, a 90-apartment tower planned for 20 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane for the Aria Property Group.

However, the vegetable gardens, art scene and younger families who are attracted to the schools of the suburbs need not be in new, vertical developments.

“Projects can offer a greater sensibility to the public, not just a big fence with a big gate and everyone else can stay out,” Brown says.

“The council has understood and they’ve assisted us so much when you look at the new temporary planning instrument for South Brisbane.”

That  temporary local planning instrument was implimented at Kurilpa in October, adding higher density through increased building heights, reduced car parks and housing diversity.

However, this was contained to South Brisbane on that suburb’s side of Musgrave Park and along Boundary Street before the West Village Shopping Village.

 

Brown says you only need to walk your children to school to see people who do “all sorts of weird and wonderful things for a living” and that the buildings must reflect that.

“There’s a whole series of aspirations that come from our history and culture that we are trying to push into these projects and I think that’s the key,” Brown says.

“It’s all about creating very clear ideas about lifestyle in a building.”

This article was originally published in www.theurbandeveloper.com by Renee Mckeown