With apartment density in Brisbane’s inner suburbs having reached (quite literally) new heights over the last few years, it seems the apartment market is now exploding into Brisbane’s middle ring with several new developments proposed or recently approved.
Suburbs on the outskirts of the middle ring are a hive of activity. From university neighbouring suburbs like Taringa and Indooroopilly to those close to transport and new commercial precincts like Mitchelton and Everton Park. The apartment expansion doesn’t stop there with northern suburbs like Kedron and Chermside also getting a slice of the densification pie.
The vast majority of the recently approved new developments take the form of medium-density apartment buildings of between five and seven-storeys high. These serve as a transitional middle ground of sorts. A middle ground between the Queenslanders with a big backyard that these suburbs are used to, and giant high-rises akin to those in the CBD— a middle ground between the expansive Brisbane of the past, and the Brisbane of the future.
The largest recently proposed development in Brisbane’s middle ring is tentatively known as Parkside Mitchelton. The proposed site on the corner of McConaghy Street and Osborne Road in Mitchelton is located directly next to Mitchelton bus and train stations, with Kedron Brook Bikeway and Brookside Shopping Centre also both in very close proximity. Parkside Mitchelton has submitted a proposal for 212 two-bedroom apartments over 15 storeys, with a ground floor retail tenancy. According to Brisbane City Council documents released in June of 2018, this development will need some redesign before they can receive full council approval to progress. In addition to the apartments, 1089 square metres of communal open space features in the current proposal, with turfed areas, landscaped gardens, a gym, sauna, BBQ area and indoor pool.
Along with the Everton Park Laneway project is a five-stage residential development in the same vicinity at 35 Woolworths Street. This will comprise of 378 apartments upon its completion. These will be between 9 and 16 storeys, all offering ground floor retail tenancies.
Two large residential towers on Sparkes Street in Chermside have also been proposed with a total over 108 apartments across both. In neighbouring Curwen Terrace, a 62-apartment, nine-storey development is also proposed. Kedron sees a few new medium-density developments in the pipeline too, all around the 7 storey mark, containing between 30 and 40 apartments each.
Heading to the West of Brisbane, Taringa and Indooroopilly are both undergoing influxes of proposed new developments. This follows on from the last few years of densification in Toowong and St Lucia. With the University of Queensland continuing to expand, so does the demand for more student-orientated housing around the area, and that means apartments.
Swann Road in Taringa is particularly of interest with two separate developments proposed along the same stretch of road. 97 Swann Road is expected to be transformed from a single residence to 35 units within one residential tower. Just around the bend, 20 two and three-apartments over 6 storeys have just been approved for 79 Swann Road. 79 Swann Road will include several communal amenities like a gym, yoga lawn and BBQ space. At 97 Swann Road, there will be an expansive rooftop terrace with landscaped gardens and a rooftop dining area.
In areas such as these that are primarily single-resident blocks, these larger apartment complexes are causing a stir among existing residents. With forums expressing general concerns about blocking out sunlight to neighbouring homes, getting rid of trees that once provided privacy, to large-scale petitions to halt the developments all together; it seems these apartment blocks may raise more questions than they answer about the future of housing in Brisbane’s suburbs.
While the densification of the middle ring is necessary to accommodate our expanding population, what it means for the leafy-street suburban dream remains to be seen. Naturally, as retail precincts and cultural hubs expand to the suburbs, so do the apartment blocks. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the key to Brisbane’s future is looking (and building) up.