Revamped Plans Greenlit for Gold Coast Retirement Towers

Revamped plans for a $120-million, two-tower vertical retirement village and aged care facility have been given the green light for the site of the former Gold Coast Hospital at Southport.

Comprising towers of 19 storeys and 30 storeys it will be the largest vertically integrated project to be undertaken to date by not-for-profit residential aged care operator Bolton Clarke.

Earmarked for a 4111sq m site at 2 Little High Street, it is part of the $500-million Queen Street Village precinct being developed by Brisbane-based Property Solutions.

Under Bolton Clarke’s revised development plans, the proposed height of its larger southern tower has been increased from 26 storeys to 30 storeys, with the four additional floors accommodating 10 extra independent living units. 

Overall, across the two towers there will be 268 units—including 156 two and three-bedroom independent living units, 40 one-bedroom assisted living units and a 72-bed residential aged care facility with indoor and outdoor community and recreation spaces. On level 29 of the tallest tower there will be a 435sq m residents’ club and on the ground floor 1115sq m of retail space.

“There is very little difference in the built form outcome,” a submitted town planning report said. “Bolton Clarke’s brief was to create a mixed-use community that enables residents to move to a variety of residential care options as they age.”

The two towers designed by architecture firm Conrad Gargett are connected by a slender bridge and use one core to “increase the sense of community” but have been given different identities.

Gold Coast Retirement Towers Plans
▲ A render of the two towers project, the largest vertically integrated project to be undertaken to date by Bolton Clarke.

According to the report, the northern and shorter of the towers has “a sharper character” and the larger southern tower “uses curves and vertical elements to create a softer tower form”.

“The podium uses a variety of materials which reference the greater Southport character and makes subtle gestures to the art-deco history of the area,” it said.

“It was discussed early on in the design process that a better design outcome and built form can be achieved by locating the taller tower on the corner of the site.

“By doing so, the urban wall effect has been reduced, the taller tower creates a more dominant and iconic presence, the amount of overlooking with the adjacent development has been reduced and the views towards Surfers Paradise have been maximised.”

The residential aged care facility and assisted living accommodation floors use a variety of courtyard spaces to provide maximum daylight penetration into each of the rooms while also creating communal outdoor areas.

Both towers will be connected to the greater Queen Street Village masterplanned precinct via an arcade accessed off Little High Street that links through the site.

Bolton Clarke’s original development approval was due to lapse in March 2024 but it has been granted a four-year extension until March 2028.

In requesting an extension, it said it had been due to start construction by mid-2022 but it was now “unlikely to be completed by the [2024] lapse date of the currency period”.

“It seems likely that the subject site may be the last site to develop,” Bolton Clarke’s revised DA said.

“This sequencing has caused construction delays while Covid has not assisted with project pricing and availability of materials and workforce.”

The Queen Street Village precinct consists of nine sites with various land uses planned or under construction. Stage one includes new retail outlets, health services, a Dendy Cinema complex, IGA supermarket, Asian grocery store, gym, food court, childcare, cultural and social hubs.

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