$2b entertainment precinct proposal for Brisbane

Brisbane could be getting a new $2 billion entertainment precinct, including a 17,000-seat arena, at Roma Street station.

Proposed by AEG Ogden and designed by NRA Collaborative (formerly Noel Robinson Architects), the precinct will be situated over Roma Station and the surrounding area and will deliver residential, commercial and retail space, as well as an additional 12 hectares of parkland to the city.

The proposal’s principal feature is Brisbane Arena, a 17,000-seat venue with the ability to host a range of events from music to indoor sports. Its format is based on AEG Ogden’s previous LA Live arena in Los Angeles in the USA.

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On the Roma Street side of the station there will be three new towers for commercial, hotel and residential use, as well as a podium that will host retail, dining and cinema attractions.

The entertainment precinct will be built over three railway lines: the Brisbane suburban network, the proposed Cross River Rail, and Brisbane metro, which is currently being built. “It’s got the best transport node in Brisbane to make [the precinct] pump, it’s got so many things going for it,” NRA Collaborative CEO Noel Robinson said.

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Robinson added: “I think it’s a very important piece of social infrastructure for the city […] this particular area is likely to be one of the top 5 urban parks in the world, so it’s an incredible opportunity for Brisbane.”

AEG Ogden, the world’s biggest venue management company, has put the project forward under a market-led proposal, which is now awaiting assessment from the Queensland state government.

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The company is currently developing Hassell and Populous’s Sydney International Convention Centre, and has previously developed the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Perth Arena and Suncorp Stadium.

Market-led proposals allow private companies to put forward proposals for state-owned land to the government. In July 2015, the Queensland government announced it would streamline the assessment process for market-led proposals to encourage infrastructure investment and development.

Funding for the project is still uncertain. While the state government has said it supports the scheme, it has not said if it will fund or partially fund the development. “The developer doesn’t expect them to fund all of it either. The funding method hasn’t been resolved yet so it’s early days,” Robinson said.

If successful, the project is expected to take three years to complete.

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