Gallery Group Wins Approval for Radical Surfers Redesign

A Gold Coast developer has won council approval for a pair of residential towers in a radical redesign of a Surfers Paradise project just two blocks from the water.

Earlier this year Gallery Group shelved plans for a 35-storey tower on the Surf Parade site just months after it was greenlit, saying construction costs together with a rapidly changing Gold Coast apartment market had forced their hand.

Now, about eight months after they called a halt to sales, marketing and construction of 102 apartments in what was to be called Chalk, Gallery is set to build 164 apartments in two adjacent towers—one of 21 storeys and the other of 28.

Both slender towers will be built on the same five amalgamated lots totalling 1792 square metres.

“There was a shifting market and obviously construction costs had increased substantially throughout last year,” Gallery chief executive Adam Barclay told The Urban Developer.

“And the original configuration was first a large floor plate, and second a fairly complex design. It put an extra burden, potentially, on our construction timeline along with costs, so we just wanted to manage our risk as a business.”

Gallery Group
▲ Gallery re-engaged architects Raunik Design Group and a development application was re-submitted for a scaled-down 21 storeys.

Barclay said the original single tower, approved by Gold Coast Council in February this year, had a gross realisation value (or completion value) of just under $300 million.

“Whereas the two-tower approach has the south tower at about $85 million and the north tower at about $137 million,” he said.

“So our exposure as a business is managed, given the changing environment.”

Gallery’s national business development manager Alexandra Stuart-Robertson said the original tower boasted apartments with big floor plans of between 256 and more than 450 square meters.

“They were really large,” she said. “But what we found was the market for that type of apartment size had begun to shift, suddenly there were other developments in the marketplace that were offering that.”

Gallery re-engaged architects Raunik Design Group and a development application was re-submitted for a scaled-down 21 storeys with 65 two-bedroom and six, three-bedroom apartments, plus parking for 79 vehicles in four basement levels.

Gallery Group development
▲ Gallery filed a separate, second development application for an adjoining north tower of 28 storeys.

The 64.6m south tower will include about 350sq m of communal space for lounges, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and sun deck with barbecue area.

Gallery filed a separate, second development application for an adjoining 89.7m north tower with a mix of 93 two, three and four-bedroom apartments, and designed by Brisbane-based MAS Architecture studio.

Like the south tower, this one will also have parking on four basement levels. Both parking facilities will be reached via a single access road dividing the two buildings.

Stuart-Robertson said the two buildings will go to market separately, with the south tower to be sold first. Potential tenants who had opted to buy into the original 35-storey Chalk tower will have the first right of refusal on the new development.

Gallery has named PBS Building for construction, although it’s not clear if the work will be phased, or the two towers will be built concurrently.

“We’re still exploring that,” he said.

“There are absolutely economies of scale in getting the two basements out of the ground, so there’s a huge amount of logic for doing that.

“And then we proceed with one of the towers followed by the second. As much as anything it’s a matter of resource availability in the current market. We haven’t yet landed on a decision.

“We just wanted to have both approvals in place so from a consumer confidence perspective, we can tell people exactly what’s happening.”

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