Gold Coast developer Azzura Corporation has lifted the lid on its plans for a massive 108-storey supertower in Southport, which would contain more floors than the Empire State Building (103 storeys) and take the crown of both Australia's and the Southern Hemisphere's tallest building.
When completed, the Imperial Square Stage 3 Tower will be the centrepiece of Azzura's Imperial Square development - and it will have its own university, plus 2200 units, a 200-room hotel and 200 student accommodation rooms.
The site is strategically located on the corner of Ferry Rd and Meron Street in the CBD precinct of Southport, the "CBD of The Gold Coast," according to a statement by Azzura.
The overall project consists of a four staged, vertically integrated education and accommodation complex, capturing Australia’s two largest non-resource exports sectors - education and tourism.
The towers will include an extension of the podium education facility by way of a vertically integrated education campus complimented by a medical centre, apartment accommodation, additional student accommodation, gyms, theatres, activity centres and a five star hotel complex.
Stages two to four consist of a six-level podium structure including 50,000 sqm of GFA currently planned and designed for higher education institution and associated activities, (administration, library, cafeteria, retail food and the like). By comparison, The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre has about 6000sq m of exhibition space.
Extending above the podium are three separate towers consisting of 48, 68 and 108 levels.
Urbis' Matt Schneider said technology has allowed tall towers to become more feasible.
“Advances in construction technology and construction techniques of tall buildings, are allowing tall buildings to become increasingly more viable.
"The building is designed to connect with the urban fabric, integrating with the city/street life, and reflects the nature of the Gold Coast City, whilst integrating the Urban Habitat into human scaled urban environments," Mr Schneider said.
Stage one featuring a 210 room hotel and 420 room student accommodation complex were approved in December 2016, and Azzura has made great progress with moving towards a commencement of the project later this year (2017) the company said.
In a statement, Azzura said "We support the Gold Coast City Council policy of density around and in close proximity to the Light Rail ensuring the sustainability of the light rail infrastructure.
"The project repositions the location into a major education-based project, for the Southport CBD."
Azzura confirmed the company has appointed the International Hotel Group StayWell as Hotel Imperial Square Stage One Hotel Operator. Staywell operates the Leisure Inn and Park Regis brands throughout Australia, Asia, India, the Middle East and the UK.
Architect Kris Kowalski said “Illustrated by its long history of innovation, a huge focus for the Azzura Investments Limited design team is producing an integrated complex that will reinforce the Gold City skyline as a globally recognised International Education and Tourism City."The Hotel design is an exciting new “Millennial Style, Gen –Y” brand for the group, to fit with the worldwide phenomenon in this high growth sector of the accommodation market.
"We value the support of the Gold Coast City Council who we understand are considering a new policy to introduce a reduction in Infrastructure Charges for Student Accommodation," said Azzura.
"We are eagerly awaiting that policy, as it is important for the project to proceed and will support the Gold Coast competitive advantage in the Education sector, the policy was pre-emitted in an announcement by the council in August last year.
"This project makes the Gold Coast a competitive in the education sector," Azzura said in a statement.
An International expression of interest selection campaign is currently in motion for the Student Accommodation Operator and the University or College.
When complete, the main tower will beat out that of the recently announced Orion Towers, a 103-level complex planned for Surfers Paradise.