What does Brisbane’s Future Blueprint mean for property developers? (part #1)

Brisbane is certainly becoming a fantastic place to live and work. Competing with the likes of Melbourne and Sydney, the subtropical destination is slowly evolving into one of Australia’s most liveable cities. With more and more people wanting to call Brisbane home, the city attracts approximately 1300 new residents each month - although this number cannot be sustained with the current housing supply.

The rising population means that there needs to be a better plan for future housing and development. As Brisbane adapts to change, not only do we need more housing, but we have to become a little more clever in the way we meet the growing demands of the market.


Earlier this year, the Brisbane City Council surveyed over 100,000 Brisbane residents from all ages (1 in 5 households), where 15,000 ideas were generated from every single suburb within Brisbane. During the discussion, various topics were created and discussed in depth, such as designing more greenspace and leisure areas, easier ways to get around and maintaining Brisbane’s reputation of a liveable and friendly city. Brisbane’s Future Blueprint covers eight principles which will help make sure the city keeps thriving and growing in the years to come. Although this may be great for the Brisbane community, what does it mean for property developers?

  • NOTE: As this blueprint covers eight principles in depth, I have had to break this article in three sections. The below covers the first part of Brisbane’s future plan.


Create a City of Neighbourhoods

Brisbane’s uniqueness and diversity is derived from its local communities. This section of the blueprint talks about improving these local communities by developing amenities which will enhance lifestyle and leisure options for local residences. This new strategy is actually a positive movement for developers within the commercial market, as it means that as these communities grow there will be a need for more commercial businesses. The council plans on growing the communities by:

- Improving the amenities of local retail villages with upgraded paths, trees, seating and lighting.

The council will be implementing this in three months. The plan will consist of improving local retail villages, which will result in run down retail villages becoming upgraded via addition parking spots, upgrading children playground parks, and developing more commercial properties. As a developer looking for commercial investing there is much more potential for further commercial development.

- Bring more markets to the suburbs by expanding the Brisbane Food Trucks program.

If you haven’t heard of Fish Lane, it is a new area in West End and there is talk that this little laneway could enhance the vibe for the already eccentric suburb. For developers, this could lead to further growth for commercial properties, and if the council partners with local businesses to spend time and money to bring certain businesses back to life, it could be great for property developers who wish to purchase commercial properties in this area.

Having the council to back you up could mean that if this lane becomes one of those go-to areas for people to visit, having or buying an investment property in this area could result in a longer tenant, as well as a valuable piece of real estate.

- Incentivise social enterprises and start-ups to locate in empty suburban shop fronts.

This strategy is mainly aimed at commercial properties. If you’re a developer who owns real estate in this area it could be a little risky. You could potentially be losing money due to not having tenant. However, if there is an incentive from the council to bring life back into these areas, you may be able to find a good deal to purchase.

- Expand the number of places people can celebrate Brisbane’s outdoor lifestyle and have a drink while enjoying large public spaces.

This blueprint strategy is again aimed at commercial development. The idea is to get people to stay within the neighbourhood instead of buying real estate in the main areas of the commercial district. This means there may be some push from the council to improve the amenities around different neighbourhoods, but can result in low priced commercial real estate being a really good deal. The idea is to find out which areas the Brisbane council will be putting all the effort in to bring those areas back to life.


Protect and Create Greenspace

Keeping Brisbane clean and protecting our green areas will enable the city to stay a liveable and sustainable destination for the younger generation and generations to follow. Providing more greenspace will help make our city healthier as well as give the community more places to enjoy more leisure and relaxation.

- Protect and increase Brisbane’s natural habitat from 37% to 40% by 2031

This strategy poses a big challenge for developers. It has been said that protecting 37% of Brisbane’s natural habitat is a big strain to keep. This means that as a property investor, if you find a green area that could potentially be built on, it may not go ahead due to the Brisbane Council needing to increase green areas and bushland.

However, this contradicts the fact that at the same time when we look at the numbers of families moving to the state and city each month, we will need new areas to create new development for further house and land packages. If the council wants to create more green areas, they will need areas to turn into home and land packages - this will be an ongoing challenge and maybe butting heads with Brisbane Council trying to meet these requirements and allow property developers to build.

- Open up under-used public land for community sports and recreation

This new strategy poses the exact same challenges as the above point. These green areas may be needed for house and land packages to keep up with the growing population.

- Make it easier for new developments to include rooftop gardens and green open space

So, this strategy seems cool, but it is actually a catch 22. A green open space is classified as having a tin roof, but you cannot have any walls. In some areas of low density to mid density, we can potentially have one or two stories then use the third story to create an eco-friendly rooftop. Although this sounds good, it possesses a great challenge. This extra space means there is limitation on height, depending on the location. In some areas the height can only be a max of 9 metres.

If the maximum height of these areas isn’t increased, people are not going to want to build these rooftop gardens. If the minimum height is not increased, the builds are less likely going to go ahead due to there being no value for developers. At a local meeting, a town planner explained it as “when building this high, there is not much added value – it would be much more value as a property developer to build a full story".


Create More to See and Do

As Brisbane grows, there will be a need for more lifestyle and leisure opportunities for local residents. The Council has suggested the following to give Brisbane residents new ways to enjoy more of our subtropical city:

- Create new community parks in Brisbane’s suburbs with facilities for the local community to enjoy.

This strategy can be great for development of further commercial properties such as coffee and retail shops, as this plan will potentially have an increase of people visiting certain areas that weren’t as popular before.

- Bring new fresh food markets to Brisbane, including a new seafood market.

This new plan will bring in an influx of people who will start to visit these new areas – think of Eat Street Markets in Hamilton. This means that this plan could potentially create new property hot spots, and for developers, it may be handy to look around to see if there are any properties which will need to be redeveloped.

- Bring our river to life with more access and infrastructure for recreation, tourism and events.

This strategy is planning to be implemented in areas close to Bulimba. The council wants the Brisbane river to be more useable and is proposing new restaurants and parking where residents and visitors will be able to come with their boats and jet skis, with a dedicated parking space. This allows visitors to browse Bulimba shops, before jumping into their boat and heading home. For developers there will be more commercial opportunities as well as the potential of riverfront properties increasing in value considerably.

- Make Mt Coo-tha a leisure and adventure precinct with new zipline, picnic areas and trails.

This is a great strategy and will benefit property developers as it may boost the value of property around Mt Coo-tha and surrounding areas.

- Bring more festivals and markets to the suburbs

Another win for developers. When there is an influx of people coming into an area, there will be lots more opportunity for development in these selected locations.

These are just three of the principles which have been outlayed in the 2018 Brisbane’s future blueprint, and as you can see each point will have an impact on developers in both a good and bad way. As there is so much discussion around each of these principles, there much more to come in part two!

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