There are visionaries for our city’s development, and those that follow, writes David Aubrey.
November 2014 and the world’s most powerful leaders with accompanying entourages will create a media frenzy in a place that not so long ago was considered a country town.
The G20 heralds the real arrival of Brisbane as a world city and as its skyline images are beamed across the globe there are two men who can take credit for providing a significant chunk of Brisbane’s cityscape.
In the world of property development there are developers who lead and create and those that follow. David Devine and Ken Woodley fit in the first category.
At the helm of Devine Limited in the late 1990s they had the vision to identify the CBD as a great place to live as well as to work and led the charge in apartment building, resulting in the resident population of the CBD doubling from 5000 to 10,000 within a ten year period.
In creating Festival, Charlotte Towers, and several other complexes they were bucking the contemporary trend of developing within the urban renewal precincts of New Farm, Teneriffe and Newstead.
In 2010, together with Luke Hartman, Messrs Devine and Woodley formed Metro Property Development, this time identifying Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills as inner city suburbs which were under-supplied in quality yet affordable apartments and retail amenities.
“Although the Brisbane market is picking up, quality apartments in the inner city are still a rare commodity,” managing director and CEO Luke Hartman says.
Metro has embarked on a development program that will significantly improve the social fabric of areas where potential was unrealised.
Chelsea has won awards for marketing excellence and Madison Heights recently settled 91 per cent of its apartments.
The 30-level, 308 apartment mixed-use project in Bowen Hills has surpassed 200 sales within a year and was complemented by a successful leasing campaign.
“Madison Heights is extremely attractive to retailers, especially quick service restaurant businesses, as the building is within easy walking distance to two major employment nodes – News Ltd and Royal Brisbane Hospital,” Hartman says.
With several major developments such as Fortitude Valley’s $450million Central Village and The Plaza at South Brisbane under construction and others awaiting development approval, Metro are still in acquisition mode.
Director Ken Woodley says “one of the company’s key strengths is acquiring sites in up-and-coming locations.”
Metro has executed a Heads of Agreement for the future of a large parcel of land adjacent to The Waterloo Hotel on Ann Street and subject to development approval, will develop approximately 800 apartments in four towers with a retail and commercial component.
“This is one of the few remaining apartments of any scale in the Newstead precinct,” Metro executive chairman David Devine says.
“We see an incredible opportunity to create an iconic project.”