The Boatyard Kicks Off Major Urban Renewal on Bulimba’s Waterfront


Bulimba’s waterfront urban renewal has kicked-off with the sheds of historic boat-making business Norman R Wright demolished last week.

Making way for the BVN-designed "The Boatyard", Brisbane-based HG Developments appointed Hutchinson Builders to construct their waterfront development on the Brisbane river at Bulimba, within five kilometres of Brisbane's CBD.

The $42 million project, comprising 26 apartments across four buildings, is one of the first developments in what will likely be major urban renewal across the north-facing sites of the Bulimba peninsular.

Related reading: Boatyard Project Anchors in Bulimba

The 3,159 square metre Boatyard apartments neighbour the Australian Defence Force barracks which are set to hit the market in late-2017.

The redevelopment of the barracks was finalised earlier this year with the Brisbane City Council adopting a mixed-use master plan which allowed for the conservation of public space along the waterfront and curbed height limits to five-storeys.

Further along the waterfront peninsular sits the former dockyard site, the 14-hectare Cairncross Quays, rumoured to have gone unconditional within the last month. Lendlease acquired the site in 2016.

The Boatyard development. Bulimba's soon-to-be developed waterfront includes the old barracks and the Cairnscross Quay which sold to Lendlease in August 2016.
The Boatyard development location. Bulimba's soon-to-be developed waterfront includes the old barracks and the Cairnscross Quay which sold to Lendlease in August 2016.

According to HG Development founders Alistair Harvey and Simon Gundelach, The Boatyard has sold well, with all purchases to date owner-occupiers.

"The majority of the waterfront purchasers are downsizing from larger houses in suburbs such as Bulimba and Ascot," Gundelach said.

Although greenfield development continues to be Australia's main demographic absorber, the attitudes towards medium density housing does appear to be changing in Australian cities -- a sentiment echoed by Gundelach.

"Boutique, medium-scale development appeals to the generational shift in the way people live in Brisbane. The convenience of living in the inner-city is now a significant factor when determining a place to live for both tenants and owner-occupiers," he said.

"The amenity being offered in Brisbane’s inner city has also significantly increased -- locations such as the RNA precinct, Gasworks and South Brisbane are all prime examples of how Brisbane has come of age."Gundelach named The Boatyard's architect, Brian Donavan, as one of the principal innovators in creating subtropical living spaces. A "boatie" himself, Donavan's design evokes the horizontal lines, curved parapets and timber of the boats produced in the 110-year-old boat building business that previously stood on the site.

The horizontal lines, curved parapets and use of timber are intended to evoke thoughts of the boats produced in the boatbuilding workshop that previously stood on the site.

The developers do not appear to be perturbed by the headwinds in Brisbane's residential market, with plans for two further apartment projects in Brisbane's inner-city.

Gundelach said that despite the forecasts of an oversupply, uncertainty that previously plagued the Brisbane apartment market can now be quantified.

New apartment projects commencing have been significantly reduced due to [current] funding restrictions. The reduction in new projects commencing means any areas in Brisbane where there may have been a perceived oversupply will be short-lived. The previously forecasted oversupply in Brisbane has been grossly exaggerated."

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