Australia’s second tallest building under construction in Surfers

By Greg Bell

Forise, a Chinese conglomerate, has recently gained approval to build a $1.1billion, 300-plus metre tall apartment building in the heart of Surfers Paradise. This impressive tower will occupy the spot where the old Iluka hotel once stood, right on the waterfront.

The council's decision was unanimous with 15-0 voting to give the project the go-ahead, despite some controversy involving donations from Forise to the council's members. Early indications are that that once completed, the tower will be the second tallest architectural structure in Australia, and the nation's highest building from floor to roof.

Forise spokesman Tony Hickey revealed that the project is proceeding full steam ahead in comment to the Australian in September:

"Spirit is real, it is happening and from here the project team will be undertaking an aggressive and professional delivery program."

What can we expect from this massive new development and what might it mean for the area?

Australia's tallest residential tower

Earthworks and early construction are already underway for this seaside behemoth, and it's shaping up to be a beautiful building indeed. It's outer facade will feature an eye catching 'wave' design that will give the tower a unique and attractive appearance.

The building will feature 79 stories, including 479 apartments and its bottom three stories will be made up of of entertainment and retail space open to the public. Entry will be off the esplanade with additional entry off adjacent streets. This will create a vibrant retail and entertainment hub, enhancing the building's atmosphere as well as providing employment.

Council officers explained the positive effect the tower is expected to have on the surrounding streetscape to the Brisbane Times in September:

"The development efficiently utilises the site, offers an interesting and unique street life and acts as a catalyst for making Surfers Paradise a world class city."

Additional to residential and commercial space Spirit also includes the following according to the Brisbane Times:

  • Recessed entrances, footpath extensions and large awnings that promote alfresco dining opportunities;
  • Public art on the corner of The Esplanade and Trickett Street.
  • Exterior artistic on the tower base and tower cap to create a landmark;
  • "Fine-grained" active streetscapes.
  • Australia's highest rooftop pool.
  • A new street-level plaza to open the area up to the public.

What does it mean for the region?

City planning committee chairman Cameron Caldwell praised the project highly in comment to the Brisbane Times:

"The proposal is unique, attractive and will enhance the character of the area. The proposal will contribute to the quality of the city's distinct skyline. It is well serviced by the light rail project, it's a major attractor for employment and tourism and it's a very impressive design and built-form."

It's clear that the council has a high opinion of the project, but what does it really mean for the city?

With the completion of the tram line and the world class upgrade of Pacific Fair, as well as the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, things are looking up for Gold Coast commercial property. This development is yet another sign that the city will continue to grow into a world class location, both for residents and commercial investors.

It's success will be accompanied by a raft of similar projects undertaken by foreign investors – which could embolden this group and heighten their interest in our market. Interest from such large-scale investors helps create world-class accommodation, retail centres and commercial opportunities that improve our city. The entry of such developers into the area is also a positive economic sign and may contribute to employment and domestic investor activity.

Forise has not yet released an estimated completion date, however it is likely that the tower will be completed in the next few years. Until then commercial property investors and Surfers residents alike will anticipate the effect that the beautiful tower will have on our city. 

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