The Southport PDA or Priority Development Area, is a planning scheme that sits under the Gold Coast city plan and was created to stimulate development in the Southport area to strengthen the CBD. The vision for the PDA was to deliver the growth and diversification of economic activity and services, to provide for a diverse range of urban lifestyle opportunities that contribute to an appealing and active urban experience, Deliver and reinforce the PDA’s setting, place, public spaces and built form, Expand on Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth GamesTM opportunities and Facilitate strategies for redevelopment.
It was hoped that the scheme would attract predominantly commercial development to the 195.7 hectare area but what actually occurred was an increase in residential projects. Southport now has numerous high rise residential properties. HHH have designed thirteen projects since the planning scheme was initiated in 2014. All built within the Southport PDA precinct are Niche, Rise, Lather Street, South Hamptons, Ascent, Metro 88, Madison on High, 8 Norman, Outlook, One 33 Scarborough, Brighton Grande, The Woodroffe Hotel and most recently the Master Builders Award winning luxury residential tower Allegra. What the new zoning has done is relax site set backs, site cover, height restrictions and other factors which when combined makes the opportunity develop a high rise project on a smaller block more viable and the outcomes are more urban typologies.
An Increase in residential density
Some developers went ’to town’ designing super towers that could fit on large amalgamated blocks but were confronted with funding and pre-sale challenges. Whilst other developers recognised an alternate opportunity in joining smaller blocks but having the ability to create projects of 40, 50 and 60 units which were easier to fund and sell. These more affordable living spaces have attracted a different consumer including students, over seas investors and locals who simply could not afford buying into the more desirable and expensive areas such as Broadbeach, Burleigh and Palm Beach.
The impact of having significant residential density in the area has seen a boost in retail and hospitality sectors. A combination of increased land values, the Royal Commission and changes in taxation for foreign investors has slowed the residential market down however there is now an interest in commercial spaces which was the intent of why the PDA was created, to stimulate the CBD. “We’ve had quite a lot of interest in office buildings and refurbishing office buildings. One of the aims is to create bigger floor plates in Southport because there are a group of tenants that can’t find lateral spaces on the Gold Coast outside of Robina and as the Gold Coast matures there will be more a call for corporate tenancies. Southport has the infrastructure and a number of other things going for it.” HHH Director Nik Mitens.