Appeal Against Dexus’s $2.5bn Waterfront Project Dismissed

An almost two-year court battle over the fate of Dexus’s $2.5-billion Waterfront Brisbane development at Eagle Street Pier has been dismissed in the Brisbane Planning and Environment Court.

Judge Michael Williamson delivered the judgment on Friday in Brisbane, ending the uncertainty around the demolition of the 30-year-old Eagle Street Pier precinct and its subsequent development.

In a written statement, a Dexus spokesperson said “Dexus welcomes the Planning and Environment court decision as another important step in the creation of Waterfront Brisbane”.

“The $2.5-billion project will transform the Eagle Street riverfront into a world-class precinct for the people of Brisbane and the businesses that will work there.

“The project has enjoyed the support of both Brisbane City Council and the Queensland government, and we look forward to progressing.”

The project received Brisbane City Council approval in December of 2020, and less than two months later an appeal had been lodged by residents and businesses in the neighbouring 53-storey Harry Seidler-designed Riparian Plaza. 

Dexus’s $2.5-billion Waterfront Brisbane development
▲ Waterfront Brisbane, proposed over the existing Eagle Street Pier and Waterfront Place sites, will hold 248m of direct frontage to the Brisbane River.

In court documents filed in the appeal, lawyers argued that “the (council) erred in law by failing to find not only that the proposed development did not comply with the above provisions of the planning scheme, but that it could not be conditioned to comply”.

They also suggested that the development would impede access to Riparian Plaza and would require works to the building to accommodate this.

Riparian Plaza, owned by Bloomberg Incorporation Limited, is home to some of Brisbane’s well-heeled, including the likes of employment agency founder Sarina Russo, and Collections House co-founder John Pearce, as well as some high-powered corporate tenants.

While costs have reportedly blown out on the Dexus Waterfront Brisbane project, it has not dissuaded tenants from signing deals for space in the building when it is completed, including Deloittes and Gadens.

Place Design Group worked alongside New York City-based placemakers Project for Public Spaces to plan out the human-centric design of the city-shaping project and unlock economic activity and public space along the river.

The approved plans, designed by FJMTstudio and Arkhefield, are for two 49 and 43-storey office towers fronting the river. At the base of the towers there will be a new dining and retail precinct, and the Brisbane City Council will expand Riverwalk to a 6m-wide promenade.

Melbourne-based builder John Holland was awarded the $830-million contract this year to develop the first stage of Waterfront Brisbane.

The 49-storey north tower would include 72,500sq m of office space, which had been slated for completion by 2027. 

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