Shot to the art for commercial centre of Surfers Paradise

By Greg Bell

Public art can often be controversial, stirring emotions and outrage whenever a new piece goes up. You only have to look at The World Turns, a sculpture unveiled in Brisbane in 2012 to much derision, even from government ministers. However, it can also prove an inspiring attraction, boosting the appeal of a central business district and bringing crowds to metropolitan areas that might otherwise not have gone.

The Gold Coast (and surrounding commercial property) already attracts its fair share of visitors. The Gold Coast Tourism Industry Report for the year ending December 2014 showed that international visits for the region went up by 7 per cent, which indicates that we're continuing to grow.

Now, there are plans afoot for new public art works. So what are they, and will they have a positive impact or be a dud?

Urban Oasis to refresh the city

According to Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate, a cultural corridor is going to begin in the heart of Surfers Paradise. The intersection of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Elkhorn Avenue is going to play host to the city's very first major art commission for public display – but the artist to create it hasn't been found yet.

"We're inviting the world's best artists to create a truly exceptional public artwork for one of the world's best cities," Mr Tate said in a 23 October media release.

"It's a challenging yet rewarding site for an artist. We're open to ideas that transform it into a space where people want to dwell, admire the artwork or take a selfie. It will encourage people to walk through the precincts."

This could be great news for those who own commercial real estate on the Gold Coast, boosting foot traffic near crucial central retail leases. Robyn Archer AO, arts and culture strategic advisor for the City of Gold Coast believes that this will also be the manifestation of a vibrant cultural undercurrent in the region.

A jury will decide upon the artist and work after the December 16 deadline for the competition, and it should be in place by mid-2016.

What does public art do for urban centres?

The public art could do much more than boost the appeal of commercial property for sale on the Gold Coast. As J. Clayton Hering, president of Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts in the US once stated, "the sign of a great state or a great city is the strength of its cultural life".

A 2013 Creative Victoria report on public art museums found that revenue, jobs figures and a city's growth can all be positively impacted by these creative pursuits. It also cited research which indicated that there were flow-on effects for accommodation and food providers. The atmosphere added by an arts precinct can be an influential factor in the power of a metropolitan centre.

With this in mind, the new Urban Oasis development for Surfers Paradise could have great benefits for anyone engaged in retail leasing on the Gold Coast. The boost of a new attraction, as well as the establishment of a cultural precinct, could see higher foot traffic, new visitors and fresh opportunities to expand business.

When it comes to dealing with commercial property for sale on the Gold Coast, the Ray White network should be your first port of call. We have dozens of offices up and down the coast, and decades of experience helping individuals and businesses achieve their real estate goals. Whether you want to invest in industrial leasing on the Gold Coast or expand a shop-front right on the border of the Urban Oasis, we can help.

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