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When Australia’s leading demographer Bernard Salt released the landmark Beyond the Horizon study into the 50-year future of the Gold Coast, the region’s Mayor, Tom Tate, was unequivocal about his own vision for the region: economic and cultural expansion was crucial, he said.
“This study has confirmed the things we already assumed – that the city must evolve beyond its lifestyle, leisure and retirement base. It needs to be taken seriously and I believe it will shake the minds of future investors,” he said.
That comment was made two years ago in light of Salt’s prediction that the Gold Coast will become a city of “truly metropolitan scale” with population doubling to 1.1 million by 2050.
Any fair minded appraisal of the sweeping cultural and economic development changes under way on the Gold Coast today would support the extent of delivery on its evolution from holiday playground to sophisticated metropolis.
While that means more facilities for holidaymakers from around Australia and overseas who continue to view the Gold Coast as a beach and leisure destination of choice, it also means a boon for residents and investors who see prices outpacing many other parts of the country.
In Queensland, that translates to twice the year-on-year increases in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast
There is no doubt that the awarding of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to the Coast has provided a huge spike in construction of appropriate infrastructure and is a major driving factor in the growth of the Gold Coast property market.
The current development spend across the region, including Games venues and accommodation, the multimillion-dollar replacement of older high-rise, and retail, transport and entertainment venue expansion, is put at about $17 billion.
“The Gold Coast market is back in town,” said Domain Group economist Dr Andrew Wilson.
“We’re obviously seeing that infrastructure is an important component of hosting the games and that means workers, particularly construction workers, with all that downstream economic activity.
“That means more demand for rental properties, more demand for owner-occupiers.
“It’s lifted ahead of the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane… We’ve got the Gold Coast up around about 8 per cent on a year-on-year basis at the moment, while Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast are about 4 to 5 per cent.”
All that said, the Commonwealth Games, from April 4-15 next year, is only part of the burgeoning Gold Coast development story.
The recently released Australian Housing Outlook to 2019, prepared by BIS Shrapnel for QBE, points to other key drivers:
The low Australian dollar improving the Coast’s competitiveness as a holiday destination;
Expansion of the Pacific Fair retail precinct;
Extension of the Gold Coast light rail project;
The Star Gold Coast (formerly Jupiters Casino) redevelopment.
AMP Capital’s Pacific Fair, for a long time the largest retail centre in Queensland, has been further transformed at a cost of $670 million into a complete leisure and fashion destination with 120 new stores (420 in total) leading to 1400 new retail jobs.
G-Link, the light rail project, currently a 13-kilometre stretch between the Gold Coast University Hospital at the northern end of the coast and Broadbeach, is being extended to Helensvale rail station – a link that will provide commuters and visitors with a relatively seamless rail transition from Brisbane to the beachfront. The plan is to have it open in time for the Games.
A new, six-star tower is one focal point of a huge redevelopment of The Star Gold Coast with an overall investment in development and existing property refurbishment worth about $850 million.
Add to that a multimillion-dollar spend on improvements to the Gold Coast Airport, which has now become one of Australia’s primary regional hubs with flights to multiple domestic destinations, as well as key ports in Asia and New Zealand.
For residential developers with a reputation for delivering architecturally sophisticated projects, interest spurred by the Commonwealth Games and the second coming-of-age for the Coast has proved the ideal marriage.
Sunland Group has focused on an ideal combination of established sport precincts, new, nearby Games and local retail infrastructure, as well as a picture-perfect site, to deliver Marina Concourse adjoining the Royal Pines Marina – its second residential apartment development within the prestigious Royal Pines community, Benowa.
The championship golf course at the neighbouring Royal Pines Resort is permanent home of the ANZ Ladies Masters and is recognised as one of Australia’s finest golfing destinations, just 15 minutes from the Gold Coast beachfront.
Marina Concourse, which draws its inspiration from the multi award-winning Marina Residences, located across the waterfront, is an elegant two-winged, low-rise development featuring 110 luxurious two-bedroom, two-bedroom plus study, three-bedroom and three-bedroom plus media apartments, and three-bedroom plus media penthouses.
The majority of these waterfront apartments will be north facing.
“Our vision for Marina Concourse is to create a vibrant, connected waterfront community, which offers unique lifestyle amenities to residents of Royal Pines and surrounding areas,” Sunland Group managing director, Sahba Abedian, said.
“Adjoining the waterfront will be a collection of retail and recreation spaces created for the enjoyment of residents and the community, including cafe-style dining, beautiful gardens and a swim school.”
When complete next year, Marina Concourse will transform the Royal Pines Marina into a vibrant new waterfront residential, retail and leisure destination, only a short walk from Carrara Stadium, which will play a key role in the Games, and the Royal Pines Resort.