Designs revealed for redevelopment of Fortitude Valley station surrounds

Developer LaSalle Investment Management has revealed designs for the redevelopment of the site surrounding Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley train station by Architectus.

Architectus won a closed single-stage ideas competition for a masterplan to transform the area, competing against Cox Rayner (now Cox Architecture), ARM and Hassell.

LaSalle lodged a development application for the $500-million proposal on 2 November 2016, which includes a 207-apartment building, a new commercial tower on Constance Street and the refurbishment of Transport House office building.

Designs for the redevelopment of the site surrounding Fortitude Valley by Architectus.

Designs for the redevelopment of the site surrounding Fortitude Valley by Architectus.

Image: Courtesy Architectus

The proposal includes an overhaul of the existing retail precinct surrounding the station, new entrances, natural light sources, and family entertainment area such as cinemas or bowling. However this is subject to negotiations underway with Queensland Rail.

The total site area of the development is 20,302 square metres. The residential building has a total height of 30 storeys while the commercial building will rise to 25 storeys.

According to the Brisbane City Plan 2014, the building height limit on a site greater than 5,000 square metres in the Fortitude Valley precinct is 30 storeys.

Managing principal of Architectus, Colin Odbert, said the masterplan competition was to identify opportunities for development potential and regeneration of the area around the railway station in the context of Fortitude Valley and the broader area.

“At the moment the [ground-floor plan of the existing retail tenancy] is very much a sealed box, [with] fluorescent lights, a food court environment – so not too appealing,” said Odbert.

He continued: “What we are looking at with the retail masterplan is opportunities to bring in natural light, to diversify the retail opportunities within the ground-floor plan, but also assist with wayfinding, signage and placemaking around the destination.”

Apartments in the residential building will be adequately soundproofed to comply with the acoustic requirements of that area in Fortitude Valley. “[Fortitude Valley] is an area with a lot of live music venues, so acoustic attenuation to the facades has been something we’ve looked at quite closely through the DA phase,” Odbert said.

The redevelopment will connect Alfred, Constance and Brunswick Streets and there is potential for a connection down to Alden Street.

The commercial tower on Constance Street will allow for a new pedestrian entry to the station. Currently rail commuters have to walk through a multi-level car park to access the station.

More than 15,000 commuters use the Fortitude Valley railway station on week days, with more than half exiting the station via Constance Street rather than Brunswick Street.

LaSalle’s international director Ian Mackie said LaSalle’s plans were “generally compliant” with Brisbane City Coucil’s City Plan. LaSalle holds a 99-year lease that expires in 2071 for the area above the Fortitude Valley station and is negotiating to change the title to freehold to allow investment in the public realm and retail space.

Plans for the site have been lodged with Brisbane City Council. If the scheme is approved, construction is expected to start in the next 12 months.

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